Hats Off to Farmers, Today and Every Day

Agriculture is one of the world’s oldest industries. In fact, many countries’ economies still depend on the agricultural industry. Today, on October 12, we recognize the hard work that goes into feeding a nation. Previously known as Old Farmers Day, National Farmers’ Day dates back to the 1800s, a time when a higher percentage of the population was involved in agriculture, with harvest festivals and events in September and October. National Farmers Day encourages Americans to thank farmers and ranchers for providing the food, clothing, fuel, and materials that we otherwise take for granted.

See how The Old Farmer’s Almanac celebrates National Farmer’s Day: https://www.almanac.com/newsletters/archive/2018-10-12

Pay Attention to Sulfur

A new article from Dr. Mike Stewart in Plant Nutrition Today (a publication of the International Plant Nutrition Institute), reminds us that “Sulfur (S) is an important component of a complete and balanced crop nutrition program and has justifiably gained more attention in recent years. Crop consultants and decision-makers are well advised to pay attention to S nutrition and the various factors that influence its availability and level of need.”

High-yielding forage crops such as alfalfa and hybrid bermudagrass remove more S than most grain crops and tend to be relatively responsive.

According to the article, soils containing less than 2% organic matter are most commonly S deficient, and coarse-textured soils are more likely to need S than finely textured soils.

Dr. Stewart states that, “Sulfur serves many functions in plant. It is used in the formation of amino acids, proteins, and oils. It is necessary for chlorophyll formation, promotes nodulation in legumes, helps develop and activate certain enzymes and vitamins, and is a structural component of 2 of the 21 amino acids that form protein.”

Read the entire article at http://www.ipni.net/publication/pnt-na.nsf/0/E751326443B50E4C85258133006F4513/$FILE/PNT-2017-Summer-02.pdf.

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Huma Gro® offers a liquid 10% Sulfur plant nutrition product derived from ammonium sulfate and complexed with Micro Carbon Technology® that can be soil applied or foliarly applied at the appropriate plant growth stage. Click here for our Sulfur product technical bulletin, or contact your local Huma Gro® sales representative for purchasing or more technical information.

California Rescues Orchards, But Leaves Vineyards Holding the Vine

By Nick Cardona

Feast or famine. There doesn’t seem to be any in-between for many California growers. For the past 6 years, northern and central California have been experiencing severe drought conditions. The drought had become so extreme that the government began regulating the water available to farmers and growers throughout the state. These regulations were the first to happen to farmers in California since 1977. Due to the reduction in water rights, many fields had been left fallow.

Fast forward to 2017 and farmers and growers in California are facing the opposite extreme. Record-breaking storms pummeled California, dropping record amounts of rain in the valleys and snow in the mountains. These storms caused reservoirs to fill above capacity and rivers to run over their banks. This flooding has caused massive amounts of standing water in fields, orchards, and vineyards throughout central and northern California. While farmers and growers are thankful for the water, there can be too much of a good thing.

Standing water can very quickly become stagnant due to a lack of flow. This causes the oxygen levels in the water and submerged soil to drop and the water temperature to rise. Standing water can quickly cause root damage to many trees and make them more susceptible to infection and fungus pathogens.

As a result of the flooding and standing water issue, California recently approved emergency applications of fungicides in an effort to combat the potential damage to the trees and orchards. More information about the emergency application can be found here.

The emergency fungicide approval is a big win for many growers in a highly regulated part of the country. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CADPR) regulates all applications of pesticides and fungicides in the state and must approve all applications. The current approval does have some limitations and it does not apply to all growers.

The emergency application applies only to orchards with standing water in Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. The orchards must also be flooded with standing water that will not flow out of the area and into waterways where it may affect fish or wildlife. Growers may also only use approved products and must follow label directions for applications.

One set of growers affected by the flooding has been left out and not included in the emergency application. Vineyards in the area also have issues with standing water, and the grapes are similarly vulnerable to diseases caused by the excess water. The standing water can weaken the vines and make the grapes more prone to developing powdery mildew or root rot as a result.

It is important that growers who are not able to take advantage of the emergency application take steps to lessen the impact of the standing water. Pumping the water off site is an option, but it can be very costly and may not completely solve the issue as the soil may still be waterlogged and the lack of oxygen in the soil can still cause the roots to die. The waterlogged ground is also more prone to developing soil-borne diseases.

If you are one of the many growers who is not included in the emergency application and are searching for help, Huma Gro® has your solution. Huma Gro® offers Promax®, an organic, OMRI-listed, and EPA-exempt soil fungicide that can be applied anywhere as needed without the restrictions of the CADPR. Promax® works with all crops and has been proven effective on a wide variety of soil-borne diseases including, but not limited to, root rot, crown rot, grey mold, and damping off. For more information on Promax®, go to www.humagro.com/promax.

Bio Huma Netics Provides Innovative Crop Nutrition Products to China

The November 11, 2015 issue of AgroPages features an interview with Justin Smith, “Bio Huma Netics Provides Innovative Crop Nutrition Products to China.”

The article discusses our products, our introduction to the China market in 1999, our current distribution network, and the unique opportunities and challenges of China agriculture.

To read the article online, go to http://news.agropages.com/News/NewsDetail—16302.htm

What Is Soil? (Part 1.1)

by Johann Buck, PhD

This two-part article continues our 2015 series on soil as we recognize the International Year of Soils. In Part 1.1 we define soil and its formation. In Part 1.2 we’ll continue with soil texture, structure, and color.

“Daddy, which is this – soil or dirt?” That’s the question Billy asked his father in one of my favorite The Family Circus comic strips.

Let’s begin with dirt. The word “dirt” is derived from the Old Norse word “drit,” which means excrement. Dirt is what you get under your fingernails or on your clothing or shoes while working in soil.

Several definitions exist for soil. Many of those definitions are, let’s be honest, dull. (Those specific definitions of soil can be found on the USDA Soil Education Web page). The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) first defines soil as “an amazing substance.” The SSSA continues to define soil as “a complex mix of minerals, air, water, and countless microorganisms, soil forms at the surface of the land and comes in many types.” In other words, soil possesses life, it supports life, and that makes soil exciting!

Okay, so soil is alive and exciting. How does it form? What is it made of? What does it look like?

Soil Formation
CLORPT. No, that word isn’t Klingon: it stands for “Climate, Organisms, Relief (landscape), Parent material, and Time.” These represent the five major soil-forming factors.

“Climate” determines the kind of plant and animal life that reside on and in the soil. Climate also influences soil temperature, the amount of water available for weathering minerals, and the rate of chemical weathering.

“Organisms,” such as plants and animals, contribute to the formation of soil by adding organic matter. Fungal and bacterial microorganisms subsequently break down the organic matter into a semi-soluble material known as humus, while insects, earthworms, and burrowing animals aid in the distribution of humus throughout the soil. Humus contributes to both soil chemical and physical properties. Humus is composed of small particles, which results in high surface area. These small particles contribute to the soil’s ability to supply and retain essential plant nutrients. The presence of humus can also improve soil physical properties such as water-holding capacity. Humus and its benefits will be addressed in subsequent newsletter articles.

The “Relief,” or landscape, includes the slope, aspect, and position of the soil. The steepness, shape, and length of slope affects the way water flows on or off the soil. Aspect is the compass direction that a slope faces and therefore affects soil temperature. North-facing slopes in the United States, generally speaking, are cooler and wetter than south-facing slopes.

“Parent material” is the mineral and organic material from which soil formation begins. The formation of soils is a continuous process that requires thousands of years for significant changes to occur. This is why “Time” is included as one of the five soil-forming factors. It is this weathering of the parent material over time that leads to the development of the soil horizons.

SoilHorizonsStylin’ and Profilin’
Soil forms in layers, and these layers are often parallel to the soil surface. Technically, these layers are called horizons and their formation is called horizonation. Although these horizons are
related, they differ from each other chemically, physically, and biologically. There are five master horizons, each represented by a letter (see Fig. at left): O, A, E, B, and C. A sixth horizon, represented by the letter R, is used to denote the underlying bedrock. The vertical arrangement of soil horizons is known as the soil profile. Soil profiles vary from location to location, and not all soil profiles possess all five master horizons. (Expanded details for each horizon can be found in the USDA NRCS publication, From the Ground Down.) Soils on older, more stable surfaces will generally possess well-defined soil horizons. The longer a soil has been exposed to events such as rain and plant growth, the more developed the soil profile.

Methodologies exist that scientists use to describe the components and characteristics of the soil profile. These standardized soil-profile descriptions are used to decide how a soil may be used and/or predict how a soil may react to its intended use. Not only are these soil descriptions useful for farmers, they are also useful for civil engineers, ecologists, and hydrologists – to name a few.

Be sure to read part 1.2 of this article in our next newsletter. Keep growing, and make it a good day!

Dr. Buck is North America Director of Technical Services for HUMA GRO®.

Read this and other articles in the Spring 2015 issue of The Solution at http://bhn.uberflip.com/i/513498-bhn-spring-2015-newsletter. Past issues are located at http://bhn.us/newsletters/.