Blogging by the Bushel
With numerous challenges over the past several years for producers, we at Mercer Landmark understand the need for a comprehensive risk management solution. We seek to provide our customers with unparalleled service to ensure maximum results.

BY: Kelsey Berger – Mercer Landmark agronomist

Lime has always been used to raise pH but it also offers many other benefits. Also a key point to remember is not all lime is created equal. But first, how exactly does lime raise pH? The chemical compound of lime (calcium carbonate) is CaCO3. Low pH is caused by soils having too much hydrogen. When lime is applied, it forms with those excess hydrogen molecules to form water. Once those molecules bond, that leaves calcium and carbon dioxide, which is what ultimately results in a higher pH level.

Calcium in your field is another beneficial purpose of adding lime. With more calcium, soil structure changes. Calcium molecules are large in comparison to other molecules. With large molecules, more air space is available for root growth and root penetration deeper through the soil profile. More calcium in your field also decreases high magnesium levels. Soils high in magnesium are usually tighter and poorly drained. And ultimately more calcium in your soil means more calcium available to your crop. Calcium helps strengthen cell walls and improve nitrogen efficiency.

Make sure you know what is in your lime before you apply it. Some lime can carry heavy metals, which can damage your crops in the long run. Another thing to consider in choosing lime is the ECCE (Effective Calcium Carbonate Equivalent) is high. The higher the ECCE, the more similar that lime is to straight calcium carbonate. Also, ECCE lime is smaller in particle size to aid in lime break down and a quicker result from the application.

Soil pH is crucial in determining availability of key nutrients your crop needs to produce. Below is a chart showing effective pH ranges for the availability of certain nutrients important for agricultural crop production.

Overall, Lime is an important part of your fall routine as it offers necessary benefits to help you optimize your yield. Contact your local Mercer Landmark branch to talk about lime application.

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