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How long does lime take to "work"

millstreaminn

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Had a field that called for a bit over 2 ton of lime to the acre, which I applied in March of last year. Took another soil test of same field last week and it calls for just under a ton to the acre. Wondering if I may have sampled a part of the field I didn't quite get 2 ton on or is the 2 ton still working to bring up the ph? This lime was spread on an established hayfield, not plow down, if that makes a difference.

Would you add another ton or wait?
 

Dave

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millstreaminn":lyzjekms said:
Had a field that called for a bit over 2 ton of lime to the acre, which I applied in March of last year. Took another soil test of same field last week and it calls for just under a ton to the acre. Wondering if I may have sampled a part of the field I didn't quite get 2 ton on or is the 2 ton still working to bring up the ph? This lime was spread on an established hayfield, not plow down, if that makes a difference.

Would you add another ton or wait?

There isn't an easy answer to soil pH and lime questions. What was the lime score? What was your soil pH to start with? What is the Cation Exchange Capacity of your soil? Yes, spreading on an established hay field rather than plowing it down does make a difference. Lime does not move down rapidly in the soil profile. The lower the lime score and thus the bigger the lime particles the slower it will move down into the soil. Would I add another ton? Probably not this year anyway but it would depend on the above factors, my target pH, and economics.
 

millstreaminn

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What was the lime score? What was your soil pH to start with? What is the Cation Exchange Capacity of your soil?

Ummmmm........

I understand the probably not part. I'll hold off. :tiphat:
 

aaroninga

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I agree with Dave. I'd probably wait till fall or next spring and do another soil test. Lime don't show differences very quickly, slow process especially if there's a lack of rain and-or soil compaction.
Our county ag agent and UGA say that when you have it where you want it to test every other year.
 

littletom

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Starts working right away with rain or eqt. Takes times to see a big change. What u k tells me. I have seen the ph come up a good bit from oct. to march. I would put it out here lime is cheap and the ph needs to be right for everything else to work. Don't think I could get someone to spread a ton to the acre though.
 

Stocker Steve

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millstreaminn":3h7adqe4 said:
Would you add another ton or wait?

Been there, spread more, and over shot my ph target...
Grazing will raise ph. :nod:
Best thing you can do is run cattle on the field and get the biology working better.
 

TexasBred

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Keep in mind also that not all lime is equal. Depending on location some are much more water soluble than others.
 

JWBrahman

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You may not notice it but after a good rain the lime will raise the nutritional level of your grasses. This year I applied 500 pounds per 2 acres, which is basically two strips with a broadcast spreader thru each acre. The cattle ate the strips of grass that were limed, first.
 

Dave

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JWBrahman":3vqnoq5j said:
You may not notice it but after a good rain the lime will raise the nutritional level of your grasses. This year I applied 500 pounds per 2 acres, which is basically two strips with a broadcast spreader thru each acre. The cattle ate the strips of grass that were limed, first.

There is definitely a connection between soil pH and the availability to the plants of the nutrients in the soil. It will actually show up in a soil test. Take a soil with a 5.0 pH raise the pH to 7.0 and you will have substantially more N, P, and K show up in a soil test even though you didn't add any of those elements. At the lower pH they are bound so tightly in the soil that they can't even pry them loose at the lab.
 

ClinchValley

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We put 2 ton to the acre last spring on our hay fields. I am pretty sure I can see the difference. The larger clots that hit the ground and didn't bust are still visible to a slight degree. So I imagine its still working its way into the soil. We had considered applying more this spring, but think we will allow another year for it to work its way in. Might spread some more next year, or this coming fall.

We are going to attempt to spread lime on our pastures this year. Broom-sage has really came alive this year in certain areas.

Stocker Steve - PH is affected by grazing? Any way i could get some elaboration there? I'm going to guess its from a soil biology deal?
 

Stocker Steve

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There is lots of mineral in the soil but most is unavailable and does not show up in a standard chemistry test. Biology slowly breaks soil mineral and residue down, and makes it available in what is called "mineralization cycles". Grazing accelerates this soil biology as a function of stocking density, temp, moisture, type of plants growing... This is one of the reasons grazing gurus are so hot for mobs grazing cover crops. It improves several factors at the same time.

Biology is NOT linear and you need to make this work for you. Some ways to increase soil fertility quickly when you have very run down ground with limitations is to kick start the sod biology:
1) spread manure, and then pound it with cattle
2) bale graze, and then pound it with cattle
3) lime, and chemically fertilize the limiting factor to a moderate level, and then pound it with cattle

Lime clumps are not helping you. Tillage is usually used to work lime in one or two years before reseeding. I have run a drag after nasty bi product lime was spread on sod and it had dried, but cows would be happy to pound and piss on lime clumps for free...
 

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