Farmers Like a Twist of Aglime
Agricultural lime is any material which contains calcium and
magnesium in forms that are capable of reducing soil acidity. The
material is usually in the form of dolomitic or calcitic
limestone. It can be produced by crushing and grinding limestone
to a gradation or fineness that will pass sieves in the 8- to
100-mesh range or finer.
Lime can also be made by taking calcitic or dolomitic limestone and heating the
material so that the carbonate in limestone is replaced with
oxygen. This process is known as quick lime, unslaked lime, burnt
lime, caustic lime. It does not occur in nature.
Proper use of
aglime is one of the most important management inputs in
successful crop production. Excess soil acidity is a primary
constraint to high, profitable yields and long-term soil
Aglime applied to
acid soils improves soil physical, chemical and biological
conditions by neutralizing soil acidity, raising soil Ph and
supplying calcium and magnesium nutrients.. It increases root
proliferation and promotes earlier above-ground crop growth,
improving nutrient and water uptake while protecting the soil
from wind and water erosion. Aglime improves fertilizer nutrient
efficiency by as much as 50 percent or more and boosts the
effectiveness of certain herbicides.
Aglime should be applied to land
after representative soil samples have been collected and
tested. Aglime requirements are determined by most
commercial soil testing laboratories based on soil pH
measurements and some assessment of the soil buffering
capacity, and level of incorporation based on tillage
application where needed and pH management are important
in fruit, vegetable, and other high value crops, just as
in grain, seed, and forage crops.
When to Apply Aglime
usually recommended every three to five years, but
frequency and method of application can vary due to
several factors. Site-specific or precision management
technology now makes variable rate application practical
in many fields.
Aglime can be applied anytime between the harvest of one
crop and the planting of the next. It is usually placed
on the soil surface before tilling and incorporated into
the soil. Liming is usually required every three to five
years. Normally, an application of good quality aglime
can adjust soil pH adequately in 45 to 60 days.
Wheat plants show very poor growth in an unlimed area at left, compared to the plot at right where aglime was applied.
For all these
reasons and more, farmers are wise to invest in a sound aglime
program. Aglime will put more money in their pockets.