Agricultural Lime and Application
The benefits of adding Agricultural Lime to acidic soils:
- Fertiliser efficiency is improved when Agricultural Lime is added to acid soils and increases the absorption of essential plant nutrients.
- Lime reduces the need for costly chemical applications and completes an environmental-friendly approach, where healthy soil produces healthy crops.
- By changing physical and biological properties of soil, Lime increases microbial activity and improves soil structure.
- Calcium is essential for the development of healthy plant growth and Magnesium is a vital element in photosynthesis.
- Improves soil structure, which also enhances water penetration in the soil.
- Lime serves as an effective soil neutraliser, thereby providing the ideal conditions for healthy crop growth.
Acid soil and lime:
Most agricultural crops give better yields on soils that are neither too acid nor too sweet (alkaline). Many South African soils – especially those in the eastern parts of the country – are acid. On the whole, acid soils are poor and unproductive. A lime product must therefore first neutralise the acidity. Most crops benefit from lime application to increase the pH. The amount of lime applied depends on the pH, texture and base saturation of the soil. The more acid the soil, the more lime it requires. Clayey soil and soil with a high organic matter content must also be limed.
Info Pak from www.daff.gov.za and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs; Water Wise.
Liming must by no means be neglected as too much acid in the soil:
- Decreases the availability of phosphorus;
- Inhibits the efficient uptake and use of both water and fertiliser;
- Renders applied herbicides insufficient; and
- Suppresses the effectivity of microorganisms in the soil.
Under highly acidic conditions it can (from an economic point of view) be even more beneficial to lime instead of increasing the fertiliser application rate.
Source: The Agri-Handbook 2013-2014