Editor’s note: The June issue of Superintendent magazine features a special supplement on golf and sustainability. We were fortunate to have several advertisers/sponsors involved in the supplement to make it possible and to help educate superintendents about sustainability. We asked the sponsors to share their philosophies about sustainability as it pertains to their products. It’s clear these companies take sustainability very seriously and are committed to its economic, environmental and social components. While their stories appeared in the June issue, we’re also sharing them in this newsletter. Today, a look at Harsco Metals and Minerals.
To Sarver, Pennsylvania-based Harsco Metals and Minerals, seizing sustainability is taking a material like calcium silicate that’s part of the waste stream, purifying it, and putting it in a form that’s beneficial. The company has done that with CrossOver, a magnesium- and calcium silicate-based soil amendment.
Harsco spent several years working with the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) to get an analytical method designed and published for soluble plant-available calcium silicate. The AAPFCO concluded that calcium silicate is a “plant beneficial substance.”
The company says that many agronomists believe that correcting salt and pH-affected soils may be better addressed with calcium silicate. Harsco also believes that superintendents have a need for amendments that correct problems for both the soil and the plant, which CrossOver provides, says Stephen Miranda, Harsco’s global marketing manager of agriculture and turfgrass.
Calcium silicate has been “on the fringe” in the turfgrass industry for the past 15 years, Miranda says. A few products were introduced containing calcium silicate, but they never had an impact, he explains.
But Miranda says Harsco has gathered a “huge database to support” CrossOver’s label and literature claims, including research from Rutgers University and Louisiana State University.
“Superintendents take data very seriously,” Miranda says. “Everybody wants to know the true mode of action with it, and we’ve been able to provide that, which has brought this technology to the forefront.”
According to Miranda, scientists have discovered that large amounts of calcium silicate are removed from turfgrass annually through mowing.
“Scientists have found that if calcium silicate isn’t replaced, plants are predisposed to disease and insect attack and environmental stresses,” Miranda says. “[CrossOver] allows superintendents to maximize their fertility and disease control programs.”
Poor-quality and effluent water can hasten poor soil structure, Miranda notes. That’s where calcium silicate can make a difference — translating soil benefits to plant benefits, he says.
Harsco has embraced sustainability and prides itself on taking waste-stream materials like calcium silicate and transforming them.
“We have access to these types of materials globally,” Miranda says. “One of our core competencies is taking technology like this and marrying them together to form new and novel products that fill a need that hasn’t been seen before. We’re devoting a lot of manpower and financial resources into this.”