The IAAP is committed to its
partnership with the Illinois
Department of Agriculture and Illinois Department of Transportation to
ensure the products produced and supplied by our members for
agricultural use are the best quality available.
purpose of the Aglime Committee is to
- Educate the producer
membership and Illinois farmers about current specifications and technical issues
related to aglime;
- Monitor and analyze
research that may impact the use and applications for aglime; and
- Provide solutions
to technical challenges farmers face do to changes in soil acidity, loss of
nutrients and declining crop production.
membership is comprised of producer members--large,
medium and small companies selling aglime in Illinois. Associate
members and agency representatives are encouraged to join.
LIME QUALITY—DOES IT
There are four major
factors that affect the successful neutralization of soil acidity by
They are: 1) lime rate: 2)
lime purity…compared to pure calcium carbonate …expressed as calcium carbonate
equivalent (CCE); 3) lime particle size distribution or fineness of grind; and
4) degree of incorporation or mixing with the soil.
Soil test laboratories
make lime recommendations based on a measurement of soil pH (active acidity) and
some indication of soil texture or buffer capacity, which is the resistance to
change in soil pH.
Most soil testing
laboratories usually assume the aglime has a CCE of at least 80 to 90 percent
and an excellent fineness of grind (i.e. large majority of particles passing a
50 to 60-mesh sieve).
Different states have
different regulations governing lime quality, and many land grant universities
offer guidance in selecting good quality aglime.
Often, lime quality is
expressed as “effective calcium carbonate equivalent”, “relative neutralizing
value”, or “effective neutralizing material.” These expressions involve some
consideration and factoring of both lime purity and fineness of grind.
The rate of reaction or
the dissolution of lime particles increases as their size decreases. For
example, after 3 to 4 years, aglime particles larger than 10 to 15-mesh (about 1
to 1.7 millimeters in diameter) will have dissolved little, while the majority
of aglime particles in the 50 to 60-mesh size range will have dissolved.
Particles larger than
10 to 15-mesh have little effect on soil acidity, while the smaller, finer-grind
particles react rapidly to neutralize soil acidity. It may take twice as long
(or longer) for particles between 15 to 30-mesh to react, compared to particles
smaller than 50 to 60-mesh (about 250 to 300 micrometers), assuming their purity
or CCE is the same.
With the expansion of
conservation tillage and no-till systems, there are fewer opportunities to
incorporate aglime via plowing or discing.
So, lime quality may be
even more important in these reduced-tillage systems than in older, traditional
High crop yields are
essential to economic success in farming.
Most farmers and crop
advisers recognize the importance of managing soil pH at optimum levels in the
crop root zone to achieve high yields. When acidity increases to the point that
root growth slows, nutrient and moisture uptake are impaired, the function of
certain herbicides becomes limited, and yields decline…can one afford to
purchase and apply poor to mediocre-quality aglime?
Because of the recent
changes in production costs associated with higher energy costs, farmers and
their crop advisers are seeking greater confidence that each input will result
in economic benefits.
When purchasing and
applying aglime to acid soils, it pays to know both the aglime purity and
fineness of grind.
Fall 2006, No. 5, Agri-Briefs, Potash and Phosphate Institute
(Download this article here)
KEEP A LOG OF SOIL ACIDITY
Applying N again this year?
Chances are you applied
N on the same field last year – that is, if you’re one of the many farmers
planting more corn after corn. In the Midwest, much of the additional corn acres
are coming from ground that used to be rotated to soybean production every other
year. So now, instead of applying N once every 2 years, many are applying N
Nitrogen acidifies the soil.
Whether the source is
urea or anhydrous ammonia, the acidifying effect is the same. A rule of thumb is
that for every 100 lb of N applied, enough soil acidity is produced to require
225 lb of agricultural limestone. Does that mean you need to apply 225 lb?
Probably not. But applying N more frequently increases the chances that soils
will become more acid more quickly. . .
Summer 2008, No. 4, Plant Nutrition Today, International Plant Nutrition Institute
Magnesium is required for crops to capture the sun’s
energy for growth and production. Its functions include phosphate
metabolism, plant respiration, and activation of enzyme systems.
Magnesium can be added to deficient soils by applying Mg-containing
fertilizers or dolomitic limestone. Dolomitic limestone contains both Ca
and Mg carbonates (for neutralizing value), whereas calcitic limestone
contains only Ca carbonate. Availability of Mg is often related to soil
pH. Other situations also increase needs for Mg: sandy soils with low
cation exchange capacity, low Mg-supplying power, and a high Mg leaching
potential; application of calcitic limestone on low Mg soils; crops with
high Mg requirements; high application rates of ammonium-N and K; soil
test levels below 50 to 100 lb/A exchangeable Mg.
Mg deficiency in corn
is expressed with chlorosis
between the veins
Calcium (Ca) is sometimes considered a “low key”
nutrient, but it carries a heavy load in plant growth. Calcium
availability is adequate for most crops when soils are limed to properly
adjust soil acidity. Deficiencies of Ca are most likely to occur on
acid, sandy soils from which available Ca has been leached by rain or
irrigation water, and on strongly acid peat and muck soil where total
soil Ca is low. High exchangeable soil sodium (Na) may depress plant
uptake of Ca.
Ca deficient apple
Plant Nutrition Institute)
Aglime producers should be interested in a DVD series covering a range of topics
including aglime’s impact on root growth & effect on other nutrients; sources of
soil acidity including leaching of bases & nitrogen fertilizer; soil pH and
yield response; soil analysis & recommendations for application; analysis &
testing methods to determine quality; how calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE)
value and correction values are calculated; how particle size & CCE affect
quality; processing aglime for increased quality; redefining aglime as “not a
waste product”; and marketing using tested quality results to demonstrate value.
Speakers include Dave Brummer (KSI Laboratories), Bob Hoeft (University of
Illinois agronomy professor), Jim Fletcher (Bowser-Morner Testing Laboratories),
Tod Eberle (Polydeck Screen Corp.), Robert Jones (Indiana Aglime Council) and
Mike Gross (Irving Materials), with each presenting within their area of
expertise. Each speaker’s topic is contained on one DVD in the series which
were recorded during the IAAP’s Understanding the Importance of Aglime seminar
at the 2014 IAAP Convention.
The aglime DVD series costs $50. It’s about 3 hours long and includes
supporting materials. If you wish to order a DVD set, please complete a request
using the form HERE.
Websites for Additional Information
Illinois Department of Agriculture's Voluntary
Ag-lime...It's Good for the Environment
Dial in Soil pH article from Farm Journal Magazine (Link
to Valley View Industries Website)
Keep a Log of Soil Acidity
International Plant Nutrition Institute
Quality Counts (208KB PDF). Aglime is used to neutralize soil
acidity, reduce certain toxicities, increase fertilizer efficiency and improve
soil physical and biological conditions.
Aglime Basics for Crop Production (103KB PDF). Today's
agriculture is all about sustainability.
Reasons Why It Is Never A Good Time To Cut Aglime Use (71KB PDF).
Is soil acidity robbing you of crop profits?