Monday, February 3, 2014

Lime Tests

Many farmers are applying lime this spring.  What exactly are they spreading and what is the best way to do it?

Here is the 2013 Ohio Department Of Agriculture lime results for quarries in Ohio.  You can see the Eagle Lime I use claims to be 31% calcium but tested 27% at ODA.  Magnesium is claimed to be only 1% for high calcitic lime but tested 3%.  I am not quite getting what I am paying for but it is in such high demand they can get away with this.

High calcium lime has cost more than dolomitic lime for several years here.  High calcium lime is in more demand because most of our soils were formed with higher magnesium contents than we need for farming.  Universities have said for years it doesn't matter what kind of lime you spread.  Farmers have answered with BUNK to that notion.  High calcium lime is over $10 per ton at the quarry where dolomite can be bought for $6.  Farmers are willing to pay double for high calcium limestone.

The popular New Leader lime body spreader makes a real nice spread at 2.5 tons per acre of Eagle lime.  You can see the sieve size on the report link.  It's hard to spread less than that amount with that body if you only want one ton per acre.

Soil life says not to worry and I agree, just get it on.  Neither one of us are up on GPS VRT spreading to only hit certain areas.  We learned how to do it with soil testing zones and applying accordingly.  There aren't many areas in any Ohio soil I've tested that doesn't respond to lime, so if you need it, get it on.

One reader asked me about spreading it on wheat.  His agronomist told him not to do that.  I've done it and this past spring, it really made a big improvement in my wheat quality and yield.  Some people just don't understand this.

Soil is physical, chemical and biological.  I try to address all three in harmony.

Ed Winkle

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