DIAGNOSING A FIELD PROBLEM
Can applications of Calcium (Ca) fertilizers improve plant nutrient uptake or improve soil properties in alfalfa fields?
These questions were presented to us by an alfalfa grower in the Sacramento Valley of California where low soil Ca levels were observed.
Soil samples were taken from 9 different alfalfa fields in Yolo County in the fall of 2021 to assess nutrient needs. This farmer had done an excellent job of maintaining P and K levels, but calcium levels were often low: ranging from 1.0 - 4.0 meq/l. Anything less than 4.0 meq/l calcium is considered very low. Were these calcium levels too low...
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
A consultant recently brought in some alfalfa plants to get another opinion on why growth was resuming slowly this spring. The field is located in Merced County and is a sandy loam soil. The field is in its fifth year, is glyphosate-tolerant, and has traditionally produced high-quality hay. About 5 acres of a 40-acre field are affected.
There are many reasons why growth may resume slowly this spring. The obvious reason, of course, is that we received a lot of rain this winter. With that rain has come associated problems from cool, anoxic (lack of oxygen) soil conditions. A previous blog article describes things to...