Agricultural Lime and Liming, Part 3: Aglime Product Selection and Comparison Calculator User Guide

Agricultural Lime and Liming, Part 3: Aglime Product Selection and Comparison Calculator User Guide

FS213E
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Wayne Thompson, Regional Agronomist and Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist, Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Unit and Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Carol McFarland, Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Tabatha Brown, Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, David Huggins, USDA-ARS

Decreasing soil pH, also called soil acidification, is a growing concern in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Researchers and farmers have measured soil pH values below 5.0 throughout the Palouse region, in particular. Decreasing soil pH has serious implications for the cropping systems of the Palouse.

This publication is part of a series on soil acidification and discusses the attributes used to perform calculations to characterize liming material, while the interactive utility provides a platform to compare up to three liming materials for their relative effectiveness, costs, and economic efficiency. The series begins with An Introduction, covering the fundamentals of soil pH and acidification, and continues with other fact sheets on more specific topics such as the influence of pH on pathogens and microbes, recommended varieties of specific crops, herbicide activity, crop nutrition, and liming.

Agricultural Lime and Liming is a three-part publication that introduces the basic principles of how and why calcareous amendments are land applied to elevate the pH of acid soils. Part 3 is a user’s guide for the interactive online Agricultural Liming Material Selection and Comparison Calculator. This publication describes the attributes used to perform calculations to characterize liming material with instructions for the online calculator, which can compare up to three liming materials for the relative effectiveness, costs, and economic efficiency.

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Agricultural Lime and Liming is a three-part publication that introduces the basic principles of how and why calcareous amendments are land-applied to elevate the pH of acid soils. It is also part of the companion series Soil Acidification in the Inland Pacific Northwest.

Part 1 – Introduction to Agricultural Lime and Liming. This section contributes to the discussion on the increasing incidence and severity of acid soils in the Inland Pacific Northwest (IPNW) and emphasizes: i) soil sampling and monitoring concepts to consider when managing acid soil conditions; ii) the role of soil testing; and iii) characterization of liming materials used to elevate pH of acidified soil.

Part 2 – Laboratory Testing to Determine Lime Requirements. This section delves more deeply into variations among soil types and why laboratory testing is used to characterize soil pH. We define the term “lime requirement” and how it relates to soil buffering capacity. We also provide information on lime requirement test methods commonly performed by soil testing laboratories. A companion Lime Requirement Worksheet based on common buffer tests and base saturation is provided for reference.

Part 3 – Aglime Product Selection and Comparison Calculator User Guide. This is a user’s guide for the interactive online Agricultural Liming Material Selection and Comparison Calculator. The publication describes the attributes used to perform calculations to characterize liming material, while the interactive utility provides a platform to compare up to three liming materials for their relative effectiveness, costs, and economic efficiency.

 

Introduction

Agricultural liming materials are applied as soil amendments to raise the pH of acidified soil (Collins 2012). Liming material characteristics, cropping system, and tillage practice are considered when calculating the appropriate application rate (Anderson et al. 2013). Liming materials vary in chemical purity, particle size distribution or fineness, and moisture content, while depth of soil incorporation varies with crop residue management systems and tillage practices (NRCS 1999).

The online Agricultural Liming Material Selection and Comparison Calculator is used to characterize liming materials, calculate agricultural lime application rates, and assess product pricing relative to application costs. Individual attributes listed in Table 1 are presented in the order provided in the Agricultural Liming Material Selection and Comparison Calculator and further described in the following sections of this document.

 

Lime Requirement

A lime requirement is determined by soil testing. Soil pH alone can be used as an indicator that a lime application is needed, but it does not provide enough information to determine an appropriate liming rate. More information on lime requirement tests and laboratory determinations is provided in Agricultural Lime and Liming – Part 2. Laboratory Testing to Determine Lime Requirements.

Liming Product Label

All agricultural liming materials sold in the state of Washington are regulated as fertilizers by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and possess a product label that contains a guaranteed analysis and other product information, i.e., trade name, company name, and company contact information (Figure 1).

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Copyright 2016 Washington State University

Published June, 2016

WSU Extension bulletins contain material written and produced for public distribution. Alternate formats of our educational materials are available upon request for persons with disabilities. Please contact Washington State University Extension for more information

Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status or sexual orientation; and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Trade names have been used to simplify information; no endorsement is intended.