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AG Media Summit - Delta

Published July 25, 2011
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Robert Spoerri
Beneficial Reuse Management LLC


July 25, 2011, Chicago, IL - Applying gypsum to agricultural fields improves Delta soils, including heavy gumbo soils, and allows fields to absorb water faster and deeper and makes them less prone to crusting and easier to work. Gypsum helps break down the aluminum barrier found in many Delta soils and allows plants to send roots deep into the profile. In addition, gypsum provides an ample supply of vital sulfur, which is rapidly becoming deficient in many soils.

Clean air standards require the removal or scrubbing of sulfur dioxide (S02) from flue gasses that are generated during the burning of coal. Gypsum or calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4 - 2H2O) is produced at certain coal-fired power plants as a byproduct of pollution control equipment. It is also produced as a byproduct of corn fermentation for certain food additive production facilities.

GYPSOIL brand gypsum is marketed by Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM), here. BRM works with coal-fired utilities and other processing facilities throughout the country that generate gypsum by providing marketing, regulatory and technical services.

University of Arkansas studies show that at a depth of 6-12 inches, the mean concentration of aluminum on fields treated with one or two tons gypsum per acre was only 20 percent of the aluminum levels in untreated soil. At depths of 12-18 inches, aluminum concentration was only about half that in untreated ground.1

USDA research at the National Sedimentation Laboratory in Oxford, MS, confirmed these results. Within one year of initial application of gypsum, significant increases for calcium and sulfur contents led to substantial increases in soil stability and decreases in aluminum toxicity.2

Planters typically apply one to two tons per acre of GYPSOIL. “GYPSOIL creates a softer, more manageable soil profile,” says Ron Chamberlain, director of gypsum programs for GYPSOIL/BRM. “This means there is less crusting and sealing at the soil surface, and less ponding and runoff after a rain, as well as less soil erosion.

“GYPSOIL also creates an environment, deep into the soil profile, that is conducive to soil organisms, including microbes as well as earthworms. These soil organisms break down organic matter and nutrients in the soil faster and better, making nutrients more available to plants, explains Chamberlain. “This helps make crops healthier and more vigorous.”

Serving growers
“Our goal is to help agricultural producers gain access to sustainable resources to meet their production needs,” says Chamberlain.

GYPSOIL is a division and tradename of Beneficial Reuse Management LLC. Its mission is to make a positive impact in our customersʼ soil while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.

1 The potential use of gypsum for improved cotton productivity,” University of Arkansas Cotton Research, 2009.
2 “Influence of FGD gypsum on the properties of a highly erodible soil under conservation tillage,” National Sedimentation Lab, USDA, ARS 2011.

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