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Thread: Gypsum on grassland?

  1. #1
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    Gypsum on grassland?

    Can someone clearly explain the idea behind using gypsum on grassland?

    High magnesium soils (yes, cold wet Somerset clay), pH 6.6 or so so hardly a pH problem. Calcium level appears 'normal' I am told.

    Would you let a consultant spread gypsum on the place? I can't quite see the point. It's grass. It tolerates nearly anything besides drought or extreme flooding and if you wanted sulphur you'd get it from slurry or you'd buy in N + S compounds or whatever.

    Or it is a case of you're paying me so I better do something?

  2. #2

    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    I guess your mans thinking it may help with magnesium reduction and soil conditioning, free the soil structure and encourage micro bacterial activity ? I have only experience on arable fields where it has help to make soils 'friable' on heavy high Mg soils. As for grass ? it would have to 'weather' into the soil rather than be worked into the top soil

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Wouldnt be relying on the slurry because it would be applying Magnesiun as well.
    Plenty of other things to acidify the soil though, An, Urea, Ammonium sulphate, Sulphate of potash, and MOP.
    Gypsum will knock a bigger hole in your Mg indices though but keep your ph up where its supposed to be.


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    Dydd da pawb.Good day everyone.

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    How much is gypsum and at what sort of rate is it applied?

    I'm a bit dubious, its a bit like the old CAN trick. Some muppet tried to tell me they use it all the time, because its so much cheaper than urea or ammonium nitrate....

  5. #5

    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    How much is gypsum and at what sort of rate is it applied?

    I'm a bit dubious, its a bit like the old CAN trick. Some muppet tried to tell me they use it all the time, because its so much cheaper than urea or ammonium nitrate....
    We have put Gypsum on at varying rates from 1-3 tonnes per acre. Cost wise sometimes recycled gypsum can be got for 2.50 4.00 per tonne ex works. Then haulage on top
    SOMETIMES if you want some at a time of year when the recyclers need to shift it you can get FREE (which I like) all it cost you is the haulage.

    If you go for mined gypsum it may cost around 14 - 15 per tonne ex works. But its been a long time since I bought any though.

    Its worth doing a web search to find a local (ish) recycler to source some, as some people will try to elaborate on the whole cost/benefit of it and you may get led up a bit of a garden path ??

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Hmmm well it does sound a bit like the lime and CAN job after all.

    So, if you have a known pH problem (after digging holes and soil testing) you can elect to use gypsum to correct the pH and provide a bit of sulphate?

    I can't get my head around why someone would choose to use the stuff when the pH and Calcium level appears fine? I can understand that Calcium is more reactive than Magnesium and it would affect soil physical properties, but in grass where you don't intend to ever work it about?

    It is like the CAN conundrum. Some nuffield scholar runs around pretending it is like Mana from heaven, yet it is less than 10% limestone and it applied in such small amounts it cannot surely make a shit of difference.

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    How much is gypsum and at what sort of rate is it applied?

    I'm a bit dubious, its a bit like the old CAN trick. Some muppet tried to tell me they use it all the time, because its so much cheaper than urea or ammonium nitrate....
    what are you saying? That the minimal amount of Ca in CAN is not worth the bother?

    If so I'm inclined to agree I think. Lime is a rip off here (28/t) but you can't do without it. I don't think many soils around me have much excess Mg in them so I wonder of the worth of gypsum? Different areas of soil have different issues.

    Anyway its not even about the Calcium for pH amendment, its the carbonate in lime that does that. I recognise the limitations of Urea but can't ignore the price differential of it at the moment and so AN is out on this farm and money saved is better spent on the lime budget. I think...

  8. #8

    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    Hmmm well it does sound a bit like the lime and CAN job after all.

    So, if you have a known pH problem (after digging holes and soil testing) you can elect to use gypsum to correct the pH and provide a bit of sulphate?

    I can't get my head around why someone would choose to use the stuff when the pH and Calcium level appears fine? I can understand that Calcium is more reactive than Magnesium and it would affect soil physical properties, but in grass where you don't intend to ever work it about?
    Don't be duped, Gypsum is not and never will be a liming substitute. The idea is to make the high magnesium soil level react with the gypsum to in effect lower the Mg concentrations. Hopefully a nice man with more letters after his name will come onto this thread and explain the interaction between High soil Mg, Calcium & Sulphur in Gypsum better than I can.

    But please, please if your pH does get is low put good quality lime on and if you can get it high calcium content high NV lime, typically white chalk lime with around 50% NV & Calcium. But if you cant certainly don't use Magnesium lime

  9. #9

    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Good advice from Neil, as always.

    Will, is lime really a classic rip-off or expensive for haulage reasons? Not sure anyone can get away with ripping farmers off for long. Apart from disguising rubbish lime as good lime. Ask questions. Demand proof.

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cab-over Pete View Post
    Good advice from Neil, as always.

    Will, is lime really a classic rip-off or expensive for haulage reasons? Not sure anyone can get away with ripping farmers off for long. Apart from disguising rubbish lime as good lime. Ask questions. Demand proof.
    Its basically because there are only one or two decent lime quarries in West Wales and we're on a peninsula. It is good quality lime though. Put it this way in Rosslare, across the water its 7/t. Its almost but not quite viable to put it on a boat and get it here rather than from my local quarry 1 hr away. Its probably fairer to say its very expensive rather than a rip off

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    What do people on low pH low Ca soils use for their Sulphur?

    Gypsum alone for S? or AS?And then lime for pH? and then fibrophos for p and k?......time to buy a spreader by then!...

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    If you have low pH then surely applying calcium sulphate is a waste of time if it's the carbonate bit doing the pH remediation?

    I test a lot of livestock fields, typically they are not that low in sulphur as there is some in manure and slurry. Even so a number of them do use AN and sulphur compounds. I think for pure N then Urea is probably agronomically superior.

    In my area the prime suspect is always P and K indices. I do some liming here and there but I am fortunate to be near quarries. I know it is just another expense but it really does make the whole system work a lot better.

  13. #13

    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by WillyScale View Post
    What do people on low pH low Ca soils use for their Sulphur?

    Gypsum alone for S? or AS?And then lime for pH? and then fibrophos for p and k?......time to buy a spreader by then!...
    Got a lot of customers round here on AS, Fibro-Phos and lime. Most very pleased with the FP, always used lime and finding they need the sulphur in recent years. Classic situation really.

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cab-over Pete View Post
    Got a lot of customers round here on AS, Fibro-Phos and lime. Most very pleased with the FP, always used lime and finding they need the sulphur in recent years. Classic situation really.
    I'd love to sell and use tonne of FP but the need for full loads and proper spreaders makes it a bit of a non-starter for me. I'd love a couple hundred acres to test and throw it on, I know from my previous lives it works well but just haven't got clients with that kind of farm structure.

  15. #15

    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Has anyone had a good response to spreading this stuff on grass? Allot of it must have gone on to land now.

    Tonic or Snake oil?

  16. #16
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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    I was once told it was something you used after 3 or 4 previous heavy applications of lime (presumably 2 ton acre applications) to help balance things out , not so much as a better alternative.
    Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Hi UW4MN, the idea behind using gypsum is not to 'lime' the soil but to improve the cation exchange capacity and the structure of the soil. Calcium makes strong bonds with clay particles and holds particles in such a way that air and water and importantly minerals can exchange relatively freely in the soil structure. Magnesium on the other hand makes weak bonds that break easily and thus the soil structure tends to be less porous and minerals cant be exchanged as easily. If you can find someone locally re-cycling plasterboard then you have a cheap source of gypsum. Give it a go, but in a small wetish patch to start with and you may be pleasantly surprised.

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    Re: Gypsum on grassland?

    Quote Originally Posted by milk-king View Post
    Hi UW4MN, the idea behind using gypsum is not to 'lime' the soil but to improve the cation exchange capacity and the structure of the soil. Calcium makes strong bonds with clay particles and holds particles in such a way that air and water and importantly minerals can exchange relatively freely in the soil structure. Magnesium on the other hand makes weak bonds that break easily and thus the soil structure tends to be less porous and minerals cant be exchanged as easily. If you can find someone locally re-cycling plasterboard then you have a cheap source of gypsum. Give it a go, but in a small wetish patch to start with and you may be pleasantly surprised.
    I totally appreciate where you are coming from with the calcium: magnesium exchange thing. However, I am tending to find that few of my soil tests are spectacularly low on calcium?

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