Role of Gypsum

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The Role Of Gypsum In Agriculture: 5 Key Benefits You Should Know

Major Benefits of Gypsum

Here are five key (and overlapping) benefits of gypsum.

1. Source of calcium and sulfur for plant nutrition. Plants are becoming more deficient for sulfur and the soil is not supplying enough of it. Gypsum is an excellent source of sulfur for plant nutrition and improving crop yield, while calcium is essential for most nutrients to be absorbed by the plants roots and helps stimulate root growth. Without adequate calcium, uptake mechanisms would fail.

2. Improves acid soils and treats aluminum toxicity. One of gypsum's main advantages is its ability to reduce aluminum toxicity, which often accompanies soil acidity, particularly in subsoils. Gypsum can improve some acid soils even beyond what lime can do for them, which makes it possible to have deeper rooting with resulting benefits to the crops. Surface-applied gypsum leaches down to the subsoil and results in increased root growth.

3. Improves soil structure. Flocculation, or aggregation, is needed to give favorable soil structure for root growth, and air and water movement. Clay dispersion and collapse of structure at the soil-air interface is a major contributor to crust formation. Gypsum has been used for many years to improve aggregation and inhibit or overcome dispersion in sodic soils.

Soluble calcium enhances soil aggregation and porosity to improve water infiltration. So, it's important to manage the calcium status of the soil. In soils having unfavorable calcium-magnesium ratios, gypsum can create a more favorable ratio. Adding soluble calcium can overcome the dispersion effects of magnesium or sodium ions and help promote flocculation and structure development in dispersed soils.

4. Improves water infiltration. Gypsum also improves the ability of soil to drain and not become waterlogged due to a combination of high sodium, swelling clay and excess water. When gypsum is applied to soil, it allows water to move into the soil and allow the crop to grow well.

Increase water-use efficiency of crops is extremely important during a drought. The key to helping crops survive a drought, is to capture all the water you can when it does rain. Better soil structure allows all the positive benefits of soil-water relations to occur and gypsum helps to create an support good soil structure properties.

5. Helps reduce runoff and erosion. Agriculture is considered to be one of the major contributors to water quality, with phosphorus runoff the biggest concern. Experts explained how gypsum helps to keep phosphorus and other nutrients form leaving farm fields. Gypsum should be considered as a Best Management Practice for reducing soluble phosphorus losses.