Otros cultivos

Does alfalfa have acidity?
Sebastian Gambaudo, Agricultural Engineer from the ENCaLAR Agreement

In dairy farms all over the provinces of Santa Fe and Cordoba, alfalfa constitutes the major part of the fodder. It is used directly or by mixing it with hay.
Thanks to the generic advances that we have experimented in the passed couple of years, we count with productions of alfalfa that easily surpasses those from 20 years ago. Excellent productions of dry materials also mean important extractions of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), which are mainly taken from the superficial horizons of the ground. Therefore, for example, 10.000Kg of dry material per hectare make up 105Kg of Ca and 25Kg of Mg.

Esto se realiza a través de las determinaciones del porcentaje de saturación de bases, el complejo de intercambio catiónico y el pH. estado de salud, el Ph da una idea del estado de salud del suelo.

This extractions can modify what is known as the ground’s acidity, generating in many occasions and environment that is not appropriate for the grow and or development of the crop, in other words, difficulties present themselves to achieve maximum performance. The chemical analysis of the soil is the tool that let us know the characteristics of the soil. This is done by establishing the saturation percentage of the base, the complex of cathionic interchange and PH. Generally the first observation is that of the pH, which for the agronomist, this has the same importance than fever has for a doctor. In the same manner that temperature gives an indication of a man’s health condition, pH gives an idea of the ground’s health condition.
Alfalfa is one of the most sensible species to soil acidity and when we correct it by practicing whitewashing; we obtain satisfactory effects from a chemical, physical and biological point of view.
In certain zones, acidity correction can considerably improve the concentration of extractable phosphor (P). This also favors the efficiency of fertilizers because it does not allow the formation of insoluble complexes.

Dangerous micronutrients in acid grounds

With exception of the molybdenum (Mo), the solubility of all micronutrients increases with acid pH and this can be unsafe due to the possibility of toxic effects in many of them when their concentration increases in the soil’s solution.
The ground’s structure also benefits with calcium corrections, because due to the stabilizing effect of calcium, it also increments the stability of the other ingredients. It is well known that a better structure favors the ground’s ventilation, rain water infiltration and roots penetration.

The "binding" biological activity (symbiotic and non-symbiotic) of atmospheric nitrogen (N2) finds its activity favored by pH above six. The beginning, establishment and control of the associations between leguminous h. and rhizobium are complex and sensitive to acidity.
The improvement of the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the soil that are achieved by calcium corrections improve the performance of alfalfa, as it was observed in all of the central dairies.


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