[NAFEX] manure,heavy soil

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Wed Sep 6 23:34:45 EDT 2006


Skip,  
    We have heavy clay with poor internal drainage, but all our land is sloping so we don't have any problems with standing water.  We do need the rain to go down though, as we are more susceptible to drought than the flatter land.  High calcium lime is what you need to make the clay less sticky, the higher the Ca:Mg number the better for you.  In fact, I'm betting that you have a high Mg level  pulling your soil particles close together. 
    Someone recently told us about a guy with real problem soil, very high pH and poor production.  He sent off soil tests to the county and to a CEC test lab.  The county said to apply sulfur, the CEC lab wanted him to apply a ridiculous amount of high calcium lime.  He put sulfur on part of the land, the lime on another part, and left part of it alone.  The sulfured area did even worse than the control, but the area with the high calcium lime did very well.  pH isn't everything.  Neil Kinsey said to get your Ca:Mg:K:Na in balance first, and things would start working right in your soil after that.  In heavy clay, the Ca:Mg ratio should be about 7:1.  I think if the K is too high you also get into trouble with sticky soil.  Sorry I can't look it up, I have loaned out my HANDS ON AGRONOMY book and that means I will have to go wrest it from the loanee eventually.  That's what happened when I borrowed it from someone, I had to order my own copy after they took theirs back.  I think you need a copy, with it and a CEC soil test you ought to be on the road to getting things to grow for you.    Donna 
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