National Farmer’s Day: How Farmers Use Minerals
National Farmer’s Day is celebrated every year on October 12th, around the time when farmers are harvesting their final crops for the year. On this holiday, farmers are recognized and celebrated for their critical contributions to society. At Dicalite Management Group, we use this day to appreciate farmers and evaluate how we are able to support those who use minerals to plow, sow, raise, feed, and harvest to feed a nation.
How Farmers Use Minerals
How Farmers Use Minerals for Crops
Source of Soluble Silicon
Diatomaceous earth, also known as diatomite and DE, is the naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms—single-celled aquatic algae. It is a near-pure sedimentary deposit consisting almost entirely of silicon dioxide. DE helps farmers achieve:
- Higher Crop Productivity: Numerous studies have shown the benefits of diatomaceous earth as a soil conditioner. For example, a study was conducted to see how strawberries and sweet potatoes responded to a soil conditioner made with diatomaceous earth compared to a control group that was treated with a normal fertilizer application. Strawberry root mass was increased by 100% to 200%, yield was increased by an average of 35%, and there was a higher survival rate of strawberry runners, allowing for the potential of more crops.
- Improved Growing Conditions & Durability: The studies also concluded the addition of diatomaceous earth as plant-available silicon improved the growing environment and quality. There was increased uptake of key nutrients during the wet period when nutrients are typically leached away from the root zone. Natural diatomaceous earth improves moisture retention in potting mix and soil by retaining a greater quantity of water and drying at a slower rate—all without waterlogging. It creates an unfavorable environment for hard- and soft-bodied pests.
Perlite to Support Crop Growth
One of the most important benefits of expanded perlite is that it provides space for both air and water within a soilless mix. It retains water in three ways: in between individual grains, in channels leading to the cores of the grains, and on the highly irregular surfaces of each particle. This naturally occurring mineral also maintains consistent aeration and drainage for plant roots, prevents compaction, will not decompose over time and deplete soil nitrogen, has a neutral pH, and is free from weeds.
How Farmers Use Minerals for Livestock
Diatomaceous Earth improves the flowability and mixability of animal feed. In a silo, wet grain, corn, and other types of feed will often stick together in clumps; adding diatomaceous earth helps to dry it out, break it up, and keep it from sticking in the silo, also known as anti-caking.
Diatomaceous earth is a top choice because of its impressive properties:
- Low density
- High porosity
- High surface area
- Insulating properties
- Chemically inert
- Absorptive capacity
- High brightness
- Natural silica content
As a pelleting aid, diatomaceous earth helps with the formation and the quality of pellets. It can be mixed in to lubricate grains that are being prepared into pellets, allowing them to slide easily through the die plate. The final product is a better pellet because it remains stuck together during transport and feeding.
Choosing the right diatomaceous earth provider is critical to success. Dicalite’s natural diatomaceous earth complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and exceeds requirements set forth by the Food Chemicals Code (FCC). It even meets the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) standards as a registered and approved Livestock Ingredient so you can feel confident you are making the best decision for all stakeholders.
Do you want to improve your livestock’s health while increasing your ROI? Mineral feed additives, like Verxite (a highly-purified form of vermiculite which is a mica-like mineral) add nutritional value to feed and increase the shelf-life of products, providing a financially smart solution for farmers. Plus, you’ll be comfortable knowing your animals’ feed is enhanced by minerals that are certified FDA-approved. Verxite is a highly purified vermiculite hydrobiotite mineral that is thermally expanded to form lightweight granules with high internal porosity. It acts as a catalyst in animal feed, soaking up a range of essential nutrients and delivering them slowly to animals.
Verxite offers numerous benefits to farmers and agronomists:
- Highly absorbent
- All mineral (inorganic)
- Excellent dispersant
- Anti-caking agent
- Long shelf life
- Bulking agent
- Pelletizing aid
- Effective carrier
Explore the Many Uses of Minerals on and off the Farm
Our unique offering of diatomaceous earth, perlite, and vermiculite ensures there is a mineral to meet nearly every need in a variety of industries. Use our product finder database to find safety data sheets and more information about all our mineral products and how you can use them to help make the earth a healthier place in honor of National Farmer’s Day and beyond.
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Our blog offers insight and information about new and exciting uses for perlite, diatomaceous earth, and vermiculite deriving from years of research and application. From passive fire resistance to mineral depth filtration, by subscribing to our mailing list, you will receive the latest information surrounding the Dicalite, Dicaperl, and Specialty Vermiculite brands and products.