Thursday, 2 February 2012

Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is one of the most important plant nutrients. It is important to build a strong structure of cell membranes, and plays an important role in the metabolism of nitrogen, protein and formation of potassium absorption. Calcium deficiencies are usually specified in the zone of growth, such as the new top and root growth, and at the lower end of the fruit. Blossom End Rot (BER) in pepper and tomato is an excellent example of how a weakened cell membranes to reduce fruit quality and economic performance.

Although the information is there, it's a miracle that we are uninformed about calcium diet. Although we have a practical understanding of its role as a soil amendment, eliminating the lack of calcium in the California agriculture can be a challenge. Supplying plant need for calcium is not as simple as calculating the soil lime requirements. Nutrients depends on many factors beyond the total turnover, such as pH, CEC, cation saturation of the CEC, water availability and quality to name a few.

There are two factors that can affect calcium.

Ca / Mg ratio: Calcium availability may be limited by excess magnesium. Calcium is found immediately below magnesium in the periodic table of elements that describe the "similar" electro-chemical properties, which play a role in the dynamics of the cation exchange occurring at the sites of exchange in the root zone. I personally believe that there is no magic number for Ca / Mg ratio, but the breeder should pay attention to crop performance and take into account the total amount of Mg as a possible source of interference with calcium intake. In this approach, the laboratory calculates fertilizer recommendations assume an advisory role, medium grower experience of reading his cutting reply.

Calcium is usually fixed within a plant. It moves up from the roots through the Xylem in the evaporation of water column moves to the leaves, a few moves down the figure. Because nearly unidirectional flow, the available supply of calcium is needed to support the integrity of the cells into new areas of growth of plants, such as shoots, roots and fruits.
Calcium carbonate is an excellent choice of material for the supply of calcium for relatively low cost, chemical purity and low energy required for dissociation of carbonate counterpart. Redox reactions in the presence of weak carboxylic acids exuded by the roots and micro-organisms present in soil. Reducing particle size increases the surface area available to be oxidized, increasing the calcium available for plant use.

Unlike the laboratory analysis of the calculated dietary approach, a small amount of micronized calcium carbonate could be much more effective in eliminating the lack of calcium salts of the counter balancing of large amounts of coarse grade of liming materials. Smaller particles can reach the root of moving with the flow of water through the pores of the soil mass, creating a buffer zone around the roots that effectively balances risk factors, such as sodium, aluminum and magnesium excess. This explains why it makes sense economically to use a smaller amount of high quality fertilizer calcium than applying large amounts of lime that can not get to the root zone until it was threatened by the environment.

My name is Gerald Igans, I Agri-Business Developer directly involved in the transition economies to help move from conventional to sustainable and / or organic agriculture. For the past ten years I have focused on plant nutrition dynamics and natural resistance to pathogens occur in soils with high bio-activity. It has been my experience that the opinion is based, including organic micronized calcium in the diet of specialty crops and vegetables, especially those grown in the absence of calcium soils is an important part in producing superior results

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