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Thread: Still very low pH...

  1. #1
    Tom Bola
    Guest

    Still very low pH...

    We had a field soil sampled last year which showed a pH of 5.2 . 2T/acre of Calcium Lime was applied last October.
    The field was sampled again this summer and it again showed a pH of 5.2!

    Is this a result of -
    - ineffective lime,
    - poor soil sampling technique,
    - a lack of patience on my part?

    I'm thinking of getting another 2T/acre on this back-end, which it would need whatever, but wouldn't like to find it still sitting at 5.2 next year...

  2. #2
    Kentish_Andy
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bola View Post
    We had a field soil sampled last year which showed a pH of 5.2 . 2T/acre of Calcium Lime was applied last October.
    The field was sampled again this summer and it again showed a pH of 5.2!

    Is this a result of -
    - ineffective lime,
    - poor soil sampling technique,
    - a lack of patience on my part?

    I'm thinking of getting another 2T/acre on this back-end, which it would need whatever, but wouldn't like to find it still sitting at 5.2 next year...
    What lime? Is it actually low in calcium? You need to get a full analysis to see what is going on. PH analysis is useless by itself.

  3. #3
    Oilseed
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    I'm not an expert but that is a very low PH. The PH scale is a log scale so from 6 to 5 is ten times more acidic than 7 to 6. Its going to take alot of lime to neutralise that soil!

  4. #4
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    why are you applying calcium to correct pH ? has the soil been tested for low calcium ?

  5. #5
    DM
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Probably just not had time to work yet.
    Usually takes around a year before you will see a measurable difference in pH.

    At 5.2 I'd expect it to need another 2t this year anyway though.

  6. #6
    CORK
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive View Post
    why are you applying calcium to correct pH ? has the soil been tested for low calcium ?
    Pardon my ignorance but what else can be applied to raise ph besides calcium carbonate? Its the only product used over here for the purpose?

    5.2 is indeed very low and would need more than 2tn over time. Always advised not to apply more than 2tn in any one year though.

    As a suggestion, could the initial application of lime have been buried by ploughing without mixing through the soil profile first?

    The wet year probably wouldnt have helped either.

  7. #7
    cozzie
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by CORK View Post
    Pardon my ignorance but what else can be applied to raise ph besides calcium carbonate? Its the only product used over here for the purpose?

    5.2 is indeed very low and would need more than 2tn over time. Always advised not to apply more than 2tn in any one year though.

    As a suggestion, could the initial application of lime have been buried by ploughing without mixing through the soil profile first?

    The wet year probably wouldnt have helped either.
    Potash for one, Magnesium aswell won't it?

    I have very low Ph soils but with bananas calcium concentrations so adding lime will only exabarate the problems. Someone more knowledgable that I have picked up my expertise in the subject will give a definite answer

  8. #8
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by CORK View Post
    Pardon my ignorance but what else can be applied to raise ph besides calcium carbonate? Its the only product used over here for the purpose?

    5.2 is indeed very low and would need more than 2tn over time. Always advised not to apply more than 2tn in any one year though.

    As a suggestion, could the initial application of lime have been buried by ploughing without mixing through the soil profile first?

    The wet year probably wouldnt have helped either.
    Potash or magnesium

    Ph test is not an indication of calcium levels so application of calcium will not change the ph if this is the case

    A proper soil test is needed to determine why ph is so low

  9. #9
    cozzie
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    presume in theory sodium will also lift Ph if it was low, but most soils are okay for sodium, right?

  10. #10
    Exfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by cozzie View Post
    presume in theory sodium will also lift Ph if it was low, but most soils are okay for sodium, right?
    Sodium
    Unless you want to grow sugar beet
    Sodium as in sodium chloride is a de floculant and is also ph neutral

    Certainly calcium carbonate ie. lime is by far the cheapest way of raising ph
    If the Land is magnesium deficient magnesium limestone would be good for it
    But magnesium limestone has plenty of calcium in it too

    Potash etc will raise the ph but not an appreciable amount unless applied at grossly un economic quantities
    Most potash is applied as Muriate which is actually acidic

    Normally there is very little danger of over applying lime as calcium carbonate in the medium term as long as ph levels are not allowed to go over 7
    There is little to gain from going over 6 . 5

    Where is our resident expert Pete?

  11. #11
    cozzie
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by Exfarmer View Post
    Sodium
    Unless you want to grow sugar beet
    Sodium as in sodium chloride is a de floculant and is also ph neutral
    I just taught it might as its one of the four majors. And yes I wouldn't be applying sodium to correct Ph. I have a very low Ph on some of my ground but bananas calcium levels so I have no option but to travel the less travelled route

  12. #12
    Exfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Burnt lime can be used in situations where a low ph needs raising without the application of too much calcium
    Needs careful handling though as it is a strong hydroxide
    Could not give advice on application rates as have never used it for this purpose

  13. #13
    Cab-over Pete
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Blimey..........expert..........me? I think you must be thinking of Mounty or Neil.

    Only thing I'm getting good at is faffing about from one job to another, dodging wet spots and bouncing over ruts. Bloody hopeless season.

    I'd agree with what Ex-Farmer has said. There is little harm in applying a bit too much lime, although I would hate to be guilty of doing so. Whilst I agree there is little to gain from getting pH above 6.5, I will add that I usually recommend to pH 7.0, simply because many farmers don't test regularly enough to keep the level right. For many reasons, a few years soon comes around and the pH soon dips below 6.0 if it was only brought up to 6.5 several years before. I always make any new customers aware of my methods and reasons before sampling.

    Burnt Lime is a good leveller, but is seriously nasty stuff that I wouldn't get involved with. I'm not even sure it can be legally supplied tipped in bulk any more.

    It is not uncommon for me to apply lime two seasons running to the same ground, and very occasionally 3 years running. As Ex-Farmer said, it is easily the most cost effective method, and seldom causes any harm.

    The key is to use AN EXCELLENT QUALITY GROUND LIME. Don't be tempted by any cheaper route. I am biassed, but lime is damn cheap. You can't save much on a product that costs so little.

  14. #14
    Mounty
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Expert ? Not me either Pete, must be Neil......

    As usual I echo what Pete says.

    Burnt lime? Good luck with that, very difficult to buy these days unless in a vacum tanker for soil stabilisation. If you've ever tried spreading any, (we have) you wont try a second time.

    With a pH of 5.2, 2t/ac isn't going to go far. 2t/ac on the stubble and plough it in with another 2t/ac on top might start to make a difference, but will take a few years to put those sorts of levels right.

    Pete is also right about people not testing regularly enough. Finished testing an 800ac block yesterday. Last tested 5 yrs ago with some quite poor readings. A little was limed and the rest got left.
    The fields that were missed have deteriorated dramatically and some areas have got larger. Farm is very wet and this has obviously contributed to the problem. Stubbles are full of 'grey' patches with acid loving weeds noticeable across many of the fields. Yields have been dropping and crop was very thin in places. Everything has been thrown at this land in the last 2-3 years due to disappointing results, but NO lime.

  15. #15
    Exfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Learnt about the use of lime at college 40 years ago and the elf and safety aspects of burnt lime were not important then


    Strangely have never farmed where lime was a serious issue

  16. #16
    Tom Bola
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Magnesium and potash levels both ok, Phosphate very low but that's another problem...

    Field has not been ploughed (not ploughable - too rocky) so the lime hasn't been buried tho' posibly washed away!

    How do I know it's a good quality lime? I think I'm supposed to ge a ticket with nuetralising value and particle size (?) with lime, which I don't.
    I'm sure I'm not being diddled, but could the product be 'not fit for purpose'?

  17. #17
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mounty View Post
    With a pH of 5.2, 2t/ac isn't going to go far. 2t/ac on the stubble and plough it in with another 2t/ac on top might start to make a difference, but will take a few years to put those sorts of levels right.
    Do you reckon that would be the quickest way to get the pH up economically? All this place was pH 5.2-5.4 in the Spring. Applied 2t/ac of Buxton's finest on everything we could get the lime spreader to (haven't dare retest yet), and was hoping to follow up with another t/ac when possible.

    P & K indices were also very low. Is there anything that can be applied to lift those at the same time (not slag, as already ridiculously high copper antagonists here)? Or am I better sticking with P & K fert separately?

  18. #18
    Cab-over Pete
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bola View Post
    Magnesium and potash levels both ok, Phosphate very low but that's another problem...

    Field has not been ploughed (not ploughable - too rocky) so the lime hasn't been buried tho' posibly washed away!

    How do I know it's a good quality lime? I think I'm supposed to ge a ticket with nuetralising value and particle size (?) with lime, which I don't.
    I'm sure I'm not being diddled, but could the product be 'not fit for purpose'?
    You should BY LAW receive a weighbridge ticket with every load of lime delivered. On every ticket should BY LAW be the NV details and the % passing over different sized sieves. If you don't get that with every load, question why. You are buying a product sold by weight, which is bound by the Weights and Measures Act and also bound by the Fertiliser Regulations Act. It is not acceptable to be printed on the invoice. Get the weight tickets for every load.

    NeilO, you could use Fibro-phos to raise your P+K indices. There are people who slate it, but it works - no doubt whatsoever. A lot of products which claim to do two or three jobs at once are hopeless, and the chances of needing the nutrients in the ratio they claim to be available are very low. Again, buy stuff that is tested and passes the laws. The latest "product" I can think of is the cement waste, lately known as K-lime. I am guilty of dipping my toe in the water and trying to get a customer or two to try it, but it's a pile of rubbish ad not worth the hassle, from both mine and the farmers point of view. I suppose I was worried about it, being as it is, on my doorstep. Having said that, Mag lime is a good dual purpose product .

    Mounty, I have a customer just the same. Since Dad passed away 11 years ago, I have tested blocks of ground for him several times. Each time, he comes back with "put it on, but step it back by half a tonne to the acre" - that's over every acre. This year, I have tested 425 acres for him, and it's nearly all desperate for lime, 5.2- 5.5 on loads of it. He still said to peg it back, and is now talking of leaving it altogether because of the ground conditions. Madness. Great big new tractor and combine though.

    I've often said, if lime was sparkly like glitter, it would be easy to sell!!

    To be fair though, most farmers are very aware of the benefits, and many say "Just get it done, We'll leave it to you, but don't let us ever get a failure due to pH!!!"

  19. #19
    Exfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Fibro phos has got liming proPerties but again watch the copper levels

    Is the old north African ground rock phosphate still available
    Is good on acid soils

  20. #20
    Mounty
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cab-over Pete View Post
    Mounty, I have a customer just the same. Since Dad passed away 11 years ago, I have tested blocks of ground for him several times. Each time, he comes back with "put it on, but step it back by half a tonne to the acre" - that's over every acre. This year, I have tested 425 acres for him, and it's nearly all desperate for lime, 5.2- 5.5 on loads of it. He still said to peg it back, and is now talking of leaving it altogether because of the ground conditions. Madness. Great big new tractor and combine though.

    I've often said, if lime was sparkly like glitter, it would be easy to sell!!
    I know, I know Pete........Have another ongoing situation where the farm has huge demands for lime but have continued to cut back my recommendations year on year (which have been on the conservative side). Agronomist disputed my findings. Anyhow, the farm had a change of agronomist this year who has identified many of the crops as showing classic signs of lime deficiency. The farm have now decided to do everything I've recommended but at a higher rate than suggested.
    Another case is a farm not using any for years who have now decided to go ahead. Levels have now got down so low that their sewage cake cannot be applied at the usual rates due to increased availability of heavy metals (PTE's) at lower pH levels.
    With regards to the sparkly glitter had a similar conversation this week. If lime was 100+/tonne it would be treated more seriously. This is not a big moan about all farmers, as like you Pete, many of my customers test & lime routinely and keep good basic husbandry which never gives too much cause for concern as they are generally on top of the job. But for the ones who've let it go, theres a mountain to climb, A BIG WHITE ONE !!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Exfarmer View Post
    Fibro phos has got liming proPerties but again watch the copper levels
    Fibrophos is 20% Ca but at typical rates of 500kg/ha this will never have a huge effect on levels in the 5's. Cu is about 400ppm IIRC ?

  21. #21
    Penmoel
    Guest

    Re: Still very low pH...

    [QUOTE=Cab-over Pete;993837]
    NeilO, you could use Fibro-phos to raise your P+K indices. There are people who slate it, but it works - no doubt whatsoever. A lot of products which claim to do two or three jobs at once are hopeless, and the chances of needing the nutrients in the ratio they claim to be available are very low. Again, buy stuff that is tested and passes the laws. The latest "product" I can think of is the cement waste, lately known as K-lime. I am guilty of dipping my toe in the water and trying to get a customer or two to try it, but it's a pile of rubbish ad not worth the hassle, from both mine and the farmers point of view. I suppose I was worried about it, being as it is, on my doorstep. Having said that, Mag lime is a good dual purpose product .


    I've often said, if lime was sparkly like glitter, it would be easy to sell!!

    QUOTE]


    We had some of that on some ground which was v low in potash and down on ph at about 5.5, grew a forage crop of oats and peas which did very well. I think it was called Pottasic lime then or something but it was avery dense product, very much like cement, the lorry driver hated it as did the spreader man

    I think it was about 35 tonne delivered here, ground lime or mag lime is now 32- 35t spread, I am sure it nearly glitters now

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