Conservation

 

Put GYPSOIL to work in your conservation program

Beneficial Reuse Management LLC

Gypsum (CaSO4 2H2O) is a rich source of sulfur in sulfate form and calcium.  Beyond providing valuable nutrients, soil scientists have observed gypsum can improve the physical properties of certain soils, particularly those with high clay content.1

Gypsum alters soil chemistry. The sulfate in gypsum binds with excess magnesium in the soil to form soluble Epson salts (magnesium sulfate) that are flushed lower into the soil profile. The magnesium is then replaced by the gypsum’s calcium which helps build soil aggregates and create soil pore spaces.  This improves water holding capacity, root development and soil quality and structure in the upper soil profile. Good soil structure helps prevent compaction and problems with runoff, ponding and erosion.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have studied gypsum’s impact as a conservation tool. In an on-going water quality trial they have demonstrated gypsum reduces soluble phosphorus concentrations in subsurface drainage. Farm fields in the study treated with gypsum saw an average 55-percent reduction in concentrations of soluble phosphorus in drainage water in the first two years based on tests of water samples collected from the fields’ drainage tiles.2

Check the Research Library for more details about the various benefits -- simply type in the key words such as "water infiltration" or "phosphorus" for more information.

The national Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) adopted a gypsum conservation practice standard in 2015, adding gypsum to the list of recognized management tools for on-farm conservation plans.

Conservation practice standards have also been released by NRCS offices in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin (in some locations), Michigan and Alabama.

Visit your local NRCS office to learn the details about conservation practice standards for gypsum. Technical guidelines and payment schedules for EQIP projects are now available. There are also additional funding possibilities in the Western Lake Erie Basin through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program grants.

Download fact sheet.  For more information about the conservation practice standards, click on one of the links below:

Ohio

Indiana

Wisconsin

Michigan

Alabama

1 Chen, Liming, and Warren Dick. 2011. Gypsum as an Agricultural Amendment. Extension Bulletin 945. The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH.

2 Knebusch, 2014. Gypsum Spread on Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultureal and Environmental Sciences news release. Link: http://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/gypsum-spread-farms-could-help-keep-water-clean-not-green

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