As a matter of fact, there was an article titled "Farmer Commits to
Sustainable Agriculture" in the Friday, July 1, 1988 edition
of The Land newspaper out of Mankato, Minnesota, that
alluded to molasses and liquid calcium for weed control (1).
The article described sustainable farming practices used by Robert
Love, a farmer near Harmony, Minnesota. Love uses liquid calcium,
molasses, and water to control weeds like immature Canadian thistle.
He says, "It doesn't tip them over right over like 2,4-D, but
eventually, in a couple of weeks, they start tipping and turning
brown. A lot of livestock farmers like using it in pastures where
they don't want the chemicals."
1) Heidtke, Bonnie. 1988. Farmer commits to sustainable
agriculture. The Land (Mankato, MN). Friday, July 1.
Vol. 7, No. 17. p. 15.
After reading this article several years ago I located Love and
called him for details. He said he got the liquid calcium from
TransNational Agronomy in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Ron Ward of TransNational Agronomy provided the following
2 gallons of liquid calcium and 2 gallons of molasses in
20 gallons of water.
Ward said that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. A lot
depends on the soil type, soil tests, condition of the weeds, etc.
[Note: TransNational is no longer in business. Philip Wheeler
formerly of TNA now manages Crop Services International also
in Grand Rapids, Michigan]
"Weeds: Control Without Poisons" by Charles Walters, Jr. of Acres
U.S.A. is one of the few books that deals with non-herbicidal weed
control through fertility management. There are two chapters in this
book that go a long way towards describing why weeds may be
controlled through the use of calcium-based materials.
Chapter 7, "The BE & CEC Concept" goes into the optimum ratio of
plant nutrients in soil, interpreting soil test analysis, and cation
exchange capacity. Carey Ream's theory says that weed control is best
effected by maintaining plant nutrients at certain levels. These are,
stated in pounds per acre, calcium, 2000; phosphate, 400; potassium,
200; sulfate, 200; nitrate, 40; ammoniacal nitrogen, 40; iron, 40.
Chapter 8, "Fertilizing the Weeds" goes into bio-physics and energy
levels in biological systems and describes radionics instruments and
practices that reduce weed growth. Radionics is the use of electrical
scanners to diagnose and influence subtle biological energy patterns.
"Weeds!!!Why?" is a booklet by Jay McCaman that deals with the
specific conditions that influence weed growth, and practices that
can be done to decrease their presence. It is comprised primarily of
two tables. Table 1 is a listing of over 160 weeds indicating common
soil problems associated with each. It states that the goal of an
effective soil management program should be first to change the soil
environment to a point in which the soil grows weeds indicative of a
healthy soil. Secondly, it is to change the soil environment to
reduce weed pressure to manageable levels.
Table 2 is a listing of weed response to soil applied products based
on an electrical scanning device. The scanner measured the energy
patterns of ten common weeds when compared to products like dolomite
lime, high calcium lime, gypsum, 0-46-0, anhydrous ammmonia, 0-0-60,
soft rock phosphate, Lasso, and 2,4-D. The scanner was used to
determine which products lowered or raised the energy pattern of the
weeds. For example, velvetleaf started with a general vitality (GV)
reading of 470. Muriate of potash (0-0-60) increased the GV to 740.
Thus, McCaman says that muriate of potash would assist the growth of
velvetleaf. High calcium lime, on the other hand, reduced the GV to
0. From this McCamon figures that high calcium lime does not assist
the growth of velvetleaf but rather creates a soil "climate" which is
antagonistic to the growth of velvetleaf.
Adherents of "weed-control-through-fertility management" often draw
upon the concepts and practices advocated by Dr. William Albrecht
and Dr. Carey Reams.
For example, Reams stated that:
* grassy weeds are an indication of calcium deficiency
* broadleaf weeds are an indication of improper phosphate-
According to Dr. Arden Anderson, author of "Science in Agriculture'"
calcium may be normal on the LaMotte soil test, but in fact be
biologically unavailable due to high sodium, chemical toxicity, high
magnesium, etc. To reactivate a soil like this, he suggests a
mixture of liquid calcium, an enzyme product (like Nitron's A-35 or
International Ag Lab's RL-37), humic acid, and sugar. This mixture
will function as a stimulant to free up the calcium present in the
soil. Additions of rock phosphate can also improve calcium
availability according to Anderson.
For contacts in alternative fertility management, see ATTRA's:
"Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories"
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