More often than not, the benefits of gypsum applications exceed the application cost, and the amendment can serve as a tool to mitigate drainage issues and increase yields, says a recent survey involving hundreds of no-tillers.
The survey, conducted by Ohio State University economists Marvin Batte and D. Lynn Forster, found the cost-benefit ratio of gypsum was $1.68 for every $1 spent on application. Growers cited tangible yield increases for corn, soybean and alfalfa acres.
Batte shared the results at the 2014 National No-Tillage Conference in Springfield, Ill., this January, during a luncheon sponsored by Gypsoil.
The survey polled 362 active farmers, with 95% reporting they had no-tilled or used some form of conservation tillage in 2012, 2013 or both.
Farmers applied the highest percentage of gypsum to alfalfa acres, with two-thirds of alfalfa acres seeing application at a rate of 1,000 to 2,000 pounds per acre.
Growers producing corn, soybeans and wheat say they apply gypsum to about half of each crop, with the most common rate being 2,000 pounds per acre.
The top two benefits farmers were seeking with gypsum application were increasing crop yields (77%) and providing needed sulfur fertility (71%).
Alfalfa producers saw the highest yield increase with gypsum application, with short-term users (farmers who have only applied it three or four times) reporting a 7% increase in yield, compared to corn at a 4.8% and soybeans or other oilseeds at 3.6%.
Long-term users — those who adopted gypsum use prior to…