Calcium

Calcium

Calcium (Ca), is a plant essential nutrient important for cell structure, disease resistance and milk formation in livestock.

Essential nutrient contributing to 0.2-0.6% of a plants nutritional makeup

Provides plants with strength and resilience, promotes good soil structure

Deficiency symptoms include death of root tips and scorching of leaf edges in yougest leaves

Calcium losses are minimal due to its ability to bind to clay soil particles

Best applied to the soil, at crop establishment to prevent deficiency and to benefit from improved soil structure

Calcium containing products include Wolf Trax calcium, Gafsa (44-49%) and Polysulphate (17%)

Role

Plant

Calcium is responsible for providing cell walls with structure. This reduces the risk of lodging and helps protect the plant from external attacks from pests or disease.

It is important for enzyme function and to send signals that coordinate cellular activities.

Calcium is also crucial for effective root development. 


Animal

Calcium is the most abundant mineral element within mammals. It is vital for healthy teeth and bone formation, the transfer or information between cells and in the transmission of nerve impulses. Calcium also helps neutralise excess acidity in the rumen, resulting in a reduced risk of acidosis.

Calcium is a key component of milk - every litre of milk typically contains around 1250mg of calcium. Therefore dairy animals have a higher demand for calcium than animals bred for meat. Colostrum - an animals first milk - contains roughly twice as much calcium as regular milk and so the demand for calcium immediately prior to birth and immediately after is very high.

At the onset of lactation there is a sudden depletion of calcium in the blood and because it takes around 3-4 days to mobilise the calcium stored in the bones, the temporary deficiency can lead to hypocalcemia (milk fever), which can result in death if left untreated. 

Behaviour

Soil

Having a good supply of soil calcium can help improve soil aggregation and structure, particularly in soils with a high magnesium or sodium content.

Calcium is one of several nutrients which has a positive charge in its ionic form (Ca2+) and can therefore bind onto the negatively charged clay particles – others include potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg2+) and sodium (Na+).

Of these four nutrients, calcium has the strongest positive charge and therefore has a stronger affinity for the negatively charged exchange sites on clay soil particles.

Because calcium is a bigger nutrient than both magnesium and sulphur, its presence on the surface of clay particles allows soils to aggregate, resulting in better soil structure with greater pore space.

Deficiency

Calcium deficiency results in poor root growth and the death of root tips. New leaves are often distorted with scorched leaf edges. It can also make plants susceptible to disease and pest attack.

In potatoes, calcium deficiency can cause internal rust spot.

As calcium is immobile within the plant, deficiency symptoms appear on younger leaves first.

Where is the risk of deficiency highest?
  • Low pH
  • Light, sandy soils
  • Where high levels of soil potassium inhibits uptake
Testing

A Broad Spectrum (BS) soil analysis can help determine the quantity of calcium which is likely to be available for crop uptake and can be used to help tailor fertiliser plans and to help deficiencies within the season. 

Tissue testing is also useful to determine the calcium concentration of the plant mid-season in order to compare against optimum levels. Although laboratory results may be available too late to correct the deficiency in the current crop, they can be useful for decisions on calcium use for future crops.

Blood tests on livestock can help indicate whether there is a calcium deficiency within the grass or forage. 

Loss Pathways

Calcium is less prone to leaching losses due to its positive charge and its ability to bind to clay particles. Losses will be greater in soils with a low clay content. 

Application
Right Product

Coating fertiliser granules with Wolf Trax calcium means that there are around 50 more landing sites in comparison to the granular alternative, resulting in greater plant uptake.

Right Time

In arable situations, applying calcium at crop establishment proactively prevents calcium deficiency. 

Right Place

Applying calcium to the foliage is often too late as plants have already lost yield potential. Applying calcium to the soil during establishment means there is no 'hunger gap' and helps improve soil structure in high magnesium soils.

Right Rate

Using a Wolf Trax calcium coating means plant uptake is maximised and so only small rates of calcium are required.

In high magnesium soils and where improving soil structure is the main aim, larger rates of calcium may be required.

Contained Within...
FertiliserAnalysisFeatures
Wolftrax calciumN/AA dry dispersal powder which coats every granule of fertiliser. Contains both immediate and sustained release nutrition.
Gafsa granular1-27-0 + 5SO3 + 44CaOThe world’s most reactive soft rock phosphate in granular form, which provides sustained release phosphate
Gafsa powder0-29.5-0 + 4SO3 + 49CaOThe world’s most reactive soft rock phosphate in powder form, which provides sustained release phosphate
Polysulphate0-0-14 + 6MgO + 48SO3 + 17CaOA high sulphur multi-nutrient containing sustained release sulphur. Mined from natural rock deposits. Organic certification. Low chloride.
PotashpluS0-0-37K + 2.8MgO + 23SO3 + 8CaOA multi-nutrient granular fertiliser comprising MOP and polysulphate