Lime Replacement – Your Crops are Counting on It
According to Dr Hopkins of Rothamsted Research, "Three changes are constantly taking place in the soil: First, acidity is tending to develop. Second, humus – the soil's content of decomposed organic matter – is being used up. Third, certain elements essential to plant and animal growth such as calcium are being removed by the harvest of crops or removed in other ways."
Limestone, as a soil conditioner, can help rectify these changes. Lime can be used to neutralise the acidity; it encourages humus to be replenished and is a good source of calcium. Liming acid soils will lower the toxic levels of aluminium and manganese and increases symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes.
Even if all essential elements are present in the soil as a result of fertilising, they are not necessarily available to plants. Availability of minerals to the plant depends on the pH of the soil.
What are the benefits of applying lime?
- Increases some microbial activity, e.g. decomposition.
- Overcomes the potential for calcium or magnesium deficiencies.
- Increases symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes.
- Increases availability of phosphorus and molybdenum.
- Lowers toxic levels of aluminium and manganese.
To avoid disappointing results:
- Do order early – Time between order and supply increases at the height of the spreading season and can be affected by weather conditions.
- Do apply early – Lime takes time to work. Consider applying to the last ratoon before planting a break crop.
- Don't – Apply lime one week before planting and expect instant results.