Soil should have a calcium-to-magnesium ratio of 4:1 to 7:1, according to Calcium Products Incorporated. The calcium/magnesium ratios will be more of a factor in stressful years than in non-stress years. Magnesium causes the soil particles to bind together, but calcium causes the particles to separate. The amount and relative proportion usually reflect the soil's parent materials. For optimum soil and water management it is best to have the base saturation of magnesium around 15% and the base saturation of calcium above 75%. High-magnesium soils form a hard coating, and water will run off the soil's surface. The question of balance between soil magnesium and calcium levels seems to revive among farmers every few years. All soils contain calcium ions (Ca 2 +) and magnesium (Mg 2 +) cations (positively charged ions) attracted to the negative exchange sites on clays and organic matter (cation exchange complex of the soil).

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