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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336217

Research Project: Enhancing Production and Ecosystem Services of Horticultural and Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Gypsum adherence to forage: consideration for excessive ingestion by ruminates

item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Chaney, Rufus
item Watts, Dexter

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/24/2016
Publication Date: 2/5/2017
Citation: Torbert III, H.A., Chaney, R.L., Watts, D.B. 2017. Gypsum adherence to forage: consideration for excessive ingestion by ruminates. American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate, CaSO4•2H2O) has long been used as a soil amendment to improve soil conditions and its use has recently been encouraged by the USDA-NRCS for soil conservation through a new National Conservation Practice Standard: Code 333. However, there is concern regarding the excessive direct ingestion of gypsum by ruminants causing adverse effects. As a result, the NRCS standard 333 specifies “Do not resume grazing until rainfall or irrigation has washed gypsum off the vegetation to address this issue.” However, there has been no research to document gypsum adherence to forage or the potential for rainfall to reduce gypsum adherence. A study was established to examine the adherence and persistence of gypsum on different forage types. Two different forages (bermudagrass and tall fescue) were examined following gypsum applications at 0, 1, and 5 t/ha rates. The forage was sampled initially after sampling, one week later, after a 1.5 cm rain, and after a 3.3 cm rain. Retained gypsum was quantitated by increase in Ca concentration in the plant sample. Substantial amounts of gypsum were observed to adhere to the forage, but only persisted on the wider leaved tall fescue forage. With tall fescue, difference in gypsum adherence could be observed following a 1.5 cm rain, but no significant difference was observed between the gypsum application and the control following an additional 3.3 cm rain. Results indicate that care should be observed with grazing following gypsum application, especially on wide leaved forages, but rainfall will remove adhering gypsum from the forage.