Hazards of Salty Soils

When soils are high in salt, plants may need more water to maintain growth. Salty soils also negatively impact soil structure by breaking down soil aggregates, leading to soil compaction, sealing and reduced water-holding capacity. Biological activity also slows, again harming soil structure and plant growth.

Calcine for Better Soil Health

When added to irrigation water, Calcine mobilizes salt out of the root zone and improves soil productivity. 2015-16 Arizona Calcine trials on alfalfa have documented significant observations:

  • Reduced sodium, chloride and carbonate salt concentrations in the soil
  • Better soil structure, including improved water-holding capacity and permeability
  • Increased forage quality, and reduced water requirements on alfalfa

Visual Improvements

Changes in soil permeability, plant health and soil biology in fields where Calcine was applied were visually apparent (see Figure 1).

The top two photos show fields treated with Calcine during Arizona trials. Indicators of improved soil health are clear: worm castings on the surface, moist soil and healthy plant leaves. The bottom two pictures show untreated fields. Note the lack of worm castings, cracked soil and poor plant health. Algae growth is also apparent on the surface, indicating poor water permeability and pooling.

Measurable Gains

Application of Calcine to alfalfa in Arizona trials also generated large increases in important forage components. These include higher crude protein, fat and calcium. Analysis also showed a reduction of forage sodium and chloride content, and higher total digestible nutrients. This illustrates Calcine’s ability to move salt out of the root zone, making other important nutrients more available for plant uptake. When combined with the soil and water use enhancements seen with Calcine application, this finding suggests that Calcine will improve both forage quality, yield and bottom-line production costs.