Selecting the Right Lime Product for Your Farm
A very common question in NW Ohio this time of year is “What type of lime should I apply?” Closely followed by that question is “What about pelletized lime, is it worth the cost?”
Let me first say (and I’ll provide example later) that all lime is good! There is a misconception that ag lime is bad, or that wastewater lime is bad. Not true. The major difference among lime products is effectiveness. On a pound for pound basis, the effectiveness can be rated thusly: pell lime > ag lime > water treatment lime.
Let’s say that your soil test on one of your fields comes back with a recommendation of 3 tons of lime/acre. This would require 3 ton/acre of pelletized lime, or 6 tons/acre of calcitic ag lime, or 12 tons/acre of wastewater lime. I did have to make a few assumptions in this example. I assumed that the ENP of pelletized lime was 2000 lbs/ton, calcitic lime was 1000 lbs/ton and water treatment lime was 500 lbs/ton. These products are all good, and all do the exact same thing. But as you can see, some products are more effective than others.
So, how do you best use this information? Use this information to compare cost and go with the less expensive product. For example, water treatement lime may only cost to truck. Determine which product has the lowest per acre cost, and there is your winner.
I did not go into the Calcium to Magnesium ratio, since it is not a determining factor for lime selection in this area. If you wish to read more on this ratio, please visit: http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0505.html
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