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Sustainable farming from feed to field application

Tuesday, July 9, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joanna Guza, marketing & digital comm. manager
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By Holly Bellmund, president and COO, GLC Minerals

Farmers know that everything they do is in a cycle — seasonal cycles to be sure for planting, harvesting and preparing the soil for next year’s crops.

Protecting the water cycle is of utmost importance — clean water for people and our communities, animals and crops. Minimizing runoff from manure and commercial fertilizer that could contaminate local waterways or groundwater is also of critical importance.

Farms also think in terms of the nutrient cycle although they may work with various experts along the way. A farmer may work with a dairy nutritionist to meet specific nutrition requirements for their animal feed, work with a custom operator to safely and effectively haul manure and with an agronomist to be sure that soil health is optimized for plant nutrition and runoff control. Sustainable farmers know these nutrient cycles are intertwined and it’s important to connect with experts in each area for the best results.

For example, take three common nutrients: calcium carbonate, calcium-magnesium carbonate and calcium sulfate. Each has a well-established role of supplying calcium and magnesium to the dairy diet. Let’s take calcium carbonate first as a feed ingredient combined in the total mix ration. After the cow’s body absorbs what she needs, any excess will be excreted and eventually make its way into manure storages.

Powdered calcium carbonate may be combined with bedding material to supplement cow comfort. In its powdered form, it has absorbent qualities and offers some pH adjustment. Powdered calcium carbonate is ideal for mixing with wood or other paper by-products for comfortable bedding. Manure from this type of bedding system can be even more beneficial where some calcium is needed in the field as well as some pH adjustment.

Separately, depending on soil needs and crop planning, farms may add calcium carbonate (aglime) directly to their soils prior to planting or in between cutting. Lastly, crops will uptake calcium into the plant, increasing the calcium delivered to the animal and provide the calcium-needed nutrients that are being directly fed.

Calcium-magnesium carbonate offers similar benefits with the advantage of providing a magnesium source to the diet as an essential element. Calcium sulfate offers both calcium and sulfur without pH adjustment as well as other beneficial properties to increase air and water flow in soils.

Farmers know an essential element for growth is high-quality feed and soil health. Farmers who are focused on becoming more sustainable embrace the nutrient cycle for all that it has to offer from feed, manure, soil health and optimal crop nutrition.

GLC Minerals is a proud member of the Dairy Business Association and has been providing these three naturally mined minerals to Wisconsin dairy farms since the 1940s. Although the company spans state lines and across several industries, agriculture remains a cornerstone of our business. Our DBA membership provides us with the opportunity to engage with farmers and policymakers alike.

Since 1945, GLC has been processing calcium carbonate bulk and calcium carbonate filler products at our dockside facility in Green Bay. With roots back to 1871, as a family run business, we’ve grown to become the leader in custom mineral processing for markets such as agronomy, animal feed, plastics, environmental, glass and industrial fillers. As a premier Upper Midwest mineral supplier, we leverage experience and expertise to make sure our level of customer support equals the quality of our calcium carbonate filler products. It is our business to continue to partner with farms and feed suppliers to provide high- quality feed and agronomy products to support the dairy community.

GLC Minerals participated in our DBA newsletter op-ed article member benefit, learn more here.

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