What is Ag Lime?
Ag lime, or agricultural lime, is a soil additive that is made from crushed limestone. High Calcium Agricultural Lime is made up of almost entirely pure calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Ag lime is produced from high-quality limestone that is pulverized into fine particles before being spread in animal pens or on crops and fields to improve soil structure and crop productivity.
One of the most important conditions for ensuring agricultural crops will grow is the condition of the soil. Ag lime is used to raise soils pH, replace crop nutrients that are lost over time with normal farming operations, optimize the use of fertilizer allowing for reduced application rates saving money while reducing adverse environmental impacts and promotes better soil by improving drainage in overly organic and plastic soils and promotes deeper root growth in dry conditions. As soil becomes more acidic, it can adversely affect crop yield and overall plant health, leading to inhibited crop growth. Many factors can cause “acid soils”, including rain, fertilizers, organic matter, and general farming practices. Rainwater naturally leeches basic ions, such as calcium and magnesium, out of the soil. Naturally occurring bacteria found in the soil break down fertilizers, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. Organic matter decomposes and microorganisms that are responsible for biological nitrogen fixation are released.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy environment is essential for keeping livestock safe, which means a positive impact on your bottom line. Liming materials such as Ag lime can absorb moisture making animal bedding more comfortable and, perhaps more importantly, safer for animals.
Several needs should be taken into consideration when selecting the right product before you plant your next crop:
- Acidic soils (low pH)
- Impaired root growth
- Low levels of calcium and magnesium nutrients
- Poor soil drainage
- Low crop yield
Why High Calcium Ag Lime from Carmeuse for Your Soil Needs?
- Neutralizes acidic soils creating the best growing environment for your crops
- Allows for improved root structure ensuring healthier crops
- Ag lime improves drainage in overly organic and plastic soils
- Enhances nutrient availability to improve your yields
- Nutrient availability optimizes fertilizer saving you money
- Economical and easy to apply, putting more profit in your pocket
- Product where and when you need it with our network of ag-lime sources
Additional benefits of High Calcium Ag Lime from Carmeuse
- Ag lime possess moisture absorption properties that can ensure a more comfortable, safe animal bedding
- Calcium components from ag lime, combined with organic matter from animal stalls, can be reused later by spreading on fields as a soil amendment.
Why Would I Need AG Lime on my Field?
In farming, ag lime is a crucial component for the production of a healthy crop, and healthy crops start with proper soil. Ag lime works to provide an easy, affordable solution to combat acidic and nutrient-deficient soil.
Ag lime replenishes calcium and magnesium nutrients back into the soil, increases soil pH, boosts the use of nitrogen fertilizers, and makes for an overall better soil. Ag lime is made up of calcium and magnesium which are essential to crops. When you apply ag lime to your soil, it breaks down and naturally buffers soil acidity and neutralizes the soil’s pH. Ag lime optimizes the use of fertilizer allowing for reduced application rates, which saves money and reduces any adverse environmental impacts. Finally, ag lime improves drainage in overly organic and plastic soils and promotes deeper root growth in dry conditions.
Our high calcium ag lime raises your soil pH to correct soil acidity issues and provide available calcium and magnesium nutrition to your crops. It optimizes your soil condition by improving its chemical and physical properties, such as: pH, structure, water infiltration and retention, drainage, and aeration. High calcium ag lime is your long-term solution for improving crop productivity and output, which translates into more product for you to sell.
How Does AG Lime Work to correct soil acidity?
Acidification of soil is something that can occur naturally and is increased when specific fertilizers are used, like manure. High levels of acidity in soil can reduce root growth and harm nutrient availability. As ag lime breaks down in the soil it releases calcium and magnesium cations (Ca++, Mg++) that are replaced by hydrogen cations (H+), safely and naturally buffering any acidity present in the soil and neutralizing the soil’s pH.
Ag lime improves crop productivity by optimizing soil pH which increases nutrient uptake by plants. Additionally the physical properties of the soil can be improved upon by using ag lime, helping roots to grow more effectively.
The difference between high calcium and dolomitic ag lime is the level of magnesium present in the raw stone. High calcium ag lime, sometimes referred to as calcitic or low mag ag lime, is made up almost entirely of pure calcium carbonate. Dolomitic ag lime, sometimes referred to as high magnesium or “high mag” ag lime, is derived from dolomitic limestone that contains calcium and magnesium carbonate. Levels of magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) in dolomitic limestone are usually in the range of approximately 40%
Ag lime can start to react almost immediately with the soil, especially when moisture is present. However, ag lime is rather insoluble and even properly sized ag lime can take years to break down. The particle size, often referred to as fineness, is an important factor. Properly maintained fields need to be limed approximately every three to five years. This time frame depends on many factors, such as calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE), mixing or tillage, initial pH and desired pH (which is dictated by the crop to be planted next) to name a few.
Barn lime and ag lime are essentially the same, both ag lime and barn lime are crushed limestone. Barn lime, sometimes referred to as dairy lime, provides better footing by increasing the friction between the hoof and floor. Occasionally barn lime can be slightly coarser than traditional ag lime.
Ag lime should be spread evenly across the soil, usually by an ag lime spreader. There are several types of ag lime spreaders that make even and accurate application possible. Drop spreaders and spinner spreaders work well with dry material. However, for damp ag lime, spreaders with steep sloped sides and wide conveying mechanisms offer a better application solution.
Ag lime can be applied at any time of the year. However, it does take time for ag lime to react and optimal results can be seen depending on many factors. For example, the time of year you plan on planting your crop(s), the type of crop(s), the ECCE of the ag lime the soil type and pH all play a role.
In general, ag lime should be spread at a rate of no less than two tons per acre. However, this “rule of thumb” can be misleading, resulting it too little of an application for many crops and perhaps too much for crops that thrive in more acidic soils. In reality, the current soil pH, soil type and ag lime ECCE need to be identified.