Farm Fact Friday: Why is Lime Application Important?
July 17, 2023
Hello everyone welcome back to another Farm Fact Friday harvest is still underway for farmers here in Northwest Ohio but we have lots of sunshine and it’s beautiful out. I wanted to talk a little bit um about lime application uh as you can see behind me beside me this is um the spot of lime that has been actually they put a big pile on the field and then apply it. So this was happening one of the evenings when we were harvesting so I took some video and we’re going to I’ll post those videos in the comments when I’m finished here but I just want to talk a little bit about lime application and then you can watch it actually happening.
So let’s take a few steps back and revisit those conversations we had about grid sampling and soil sampling it’s very very important to understand your ground and what you’re going to be planting the seeds in because let’s face it if you don’t have the right conditions for for the seed it could your yield could suffer. So when we talked about grid sampling we also talked about how technology has brought us so far so that we can apply maybe it’s lime or whatever the deficiencies are of the the ground we can apply it in the areas that actually need it. So we’re combining all kinds of different topics here when we’re looking at lime applications so you may be wondering why lime well part of the soil testing is determining what the ph is. So if you remember back to science here we go again with a science discussion um ph tells us whether something is acidic or basic and if the ph is seven that’s a neutral reading anything below seven is considered acidic and uh actually there’s quite a bit of land out there that is in the acidic category. The Michigan State University did a study and found that 25 of land is actually acidic. Now what does that mean for crops if the land is acidic that we’re putting them into acidic ground is toxic it makes it very difficult for um for it to nourish that that seed and help it to grow to the best of its ability. So we’re looking at nutrient deficiencies within that crop which how can you create a bountiful crop if it’s not able to take up the nutrients that it needs the lime actually changes it into less of an acidic environment and increases that ph which because of its basic nature. So once it is applied to the field we have a you know the big pile here just for demonstration purposes but once it’s applied uh then it dissolves into the ground if there’s larger particles it may take longer to dissolve. So its effects can be long standing but the good thing is it’s the soil is getting what it needs.
So let’s talk a little bit about what those benefits to the crop to the plant really are there’s several um so if you you could go online and find out what the benefits to to lime to the crop is from lime but one of the things that it does is it helps the plant roots they become more efficient they’re able to take up nutrients better and the fact that you create a strong root structure from the beginning makes for a better standing plant later. So they’re stronger earlier those roots can really drive down deep if they’re able to absorb more nutrients they’re going to do better and interestingly enough if you do this correctly it the lime actually also helps to improve your fertilizers and your herbicides so if you’re spending the money on spray and fertilizer you should also invest on making sure your ground has what it needs to maximize those both of those expenses so lower phs so acidic environment prevents the proper functioning of your sprays of your herbicide. So if you’re trying to kill weeds and you’re just spraying with the best spray out there but your ground is acidic you’re not getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to that same thing with fertilizers if you’re putting fertilizer on to help with yield to help your plants grow but you’re not paying attention to what’s in you know what makes up your ground again you’re not getting the most bang for your buck. So when you talk about return on investment when you talk about yields it’s important to also make sure that the health of the actual ground is part of your equation uh if you’re you know buying the best seed if you’re putting on the best fertilizer and the best spray to kill the weeds but you’re lacking and not paying attention to what you’re actually gonna plant the seeds into you’re you’re probably not doing yourself uh justice and making sure you’re maximizing all of those other different categories.
So proper management of the ground year over year is super important now you may not need to apply a lot of lime year over year but it’s important to have an understanding of what what’s in the ground as we know the certain crops take out nutrients that others put back but understanding that cycle and what your ground needs to provide the best crop is super super important. So if you want to compare this to say the game of basketball because basketball season is underway now if you may have you know a great great group of players you may have the best basketball the best facility your half court game may be really really good but if you don’t take the time to work on conditioning so that you can run up and down the field up and down the court you know possession after possession you’re eventually going to wear out. So your crops may start out okay but at the end of the day what does that yield really look like. So just thought you guys would find uh the talk about lime interesting I know I did especially how it impacts more than just the growth of the plant but also the effectiveness of the sprays and fertilizers as well. So thanks for joining today remember to check out the videos of actual uh lime application I’ll post those in the comments and with that by golly have a great rest of your Friday a wonderful weekend and we’ll check you back next week for another Farm Fact Friday take care.