Why are we Liming? Pasture Health!

We have been prepping the Creek Farm acreage for Lime. Liming pastures is one big way you can help most pastures become more productive. Many parts of North America have acid (low pH) soils which need liming. While using fertilizer is often unnecessary, using lime is crucial with these types of acidic soils. Our soil samples showed us that we had very low pH levels. Adding the lime NOW will take a good part of the next six months to reach the roots and help the ground. Leading into better Spring & Summer Forage for our Rotational Program through the NRCS ( for more information, https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/home/?cid=nrcs142p2_020783 ) .

Lime is relatively insoluble (does not dissolve easily). Thus, it is slow to react. For maximum benefit, it should be worked into the soil when resowing a pasture or sowing a summer fodder crop. Lime can be applied as a topdressing (in other words, spread on uncultivated soil or existing pasture) if a paddock is to remain in the pasture phase for several years -

How and when to apply lime

  • Lime can be incorporated into the soil or simply top-dressed and left to leach into the soil with subsequent rainfall

  • A lime requirement test will incorporate these affects when used to determine the amount of lime needed to raise soil pH. Other factors needed to determine an appropriate lime rate include target pH of the specific plant, lime quality, application method and economics

  • Lime can restore productivity in acid soils and should be considered once the pH drops below pHCa 5.0 if sensitive species are to be grown successfully

  • Most lime is spread by contractors because of the need for specialised equipment due to the nature of the product and the large quantities applied. Lime is usually applied during summer or autumn because the heavy truck loads require firm ground, although it can be applied at any time of the year

  • It is necessary to re-lime your paddock about every 10 years, depending on the rate of re-acidification

  • If paddocks with an acidity problem are not limed, the soil pH will continue to fall and settle at pHCa 3.8 to 4.2

  • The amount of lime you need to apply varies according to soil type. Field experiments have shown that up to 5 tonnes a hectare on clay loams and 1.5 tonnes a hectare on sandy soils is needed to increase pH by one unit

  • Lime moves slowly (0.5 to 1 cm per year) through the soil profile. Incorporation into the soil profile, where possible, will assist effective treatment.

  • In permanent pasture situations, spreading the lime on the surface and allowing it to work its way into the soil is acceptable. Surface application is better than no application at all.

YouTube Video: Never a Dull Moment... Pasture Management 

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