Agricultural lime

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Agricultural lime, also called garden lime or liming, is a soil additive made from pulverized limestone or chalk. The primary active component is calcium carbonate. Additional chemicals vary depending on the mineral source and may include calcium oxide, magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate.

Effects on soil:

  • it increases the pH of acidic soil (the higher the pH the less acidic the soil)
  • it provides a source of calcium for plants
  • it permits improved water penetration for acidic soils

Lime may occur naturally in some soils but may require addition of sulfuric acid for its agricultural benefits to be realized. Gypsum is also used to supply calcium for plant nutrition. The concept of "corrected lime potential"[1] to define the degree of base saturation in soils became the basis for procedures now used in soil testing laboratories to determine the "lime requirement" of soils.[2]

Other forms of lime have common applications in agriculture and gardening, including dolomitic lime and hydrated lime. Dolomitic lime may be used as a soil input to provide similar effects as agricultural lime, while supplying magnesium in addition to calcium. In livestock farming, hydrated lime can be used as a disinfectant measure, producing a dry and alkaline environment in which bacteria do not readily multiply. In horticultural farming it can be used as an insect repellant, without causing harm to the pest or plant.

Spinner-style lime spreaders are generally used to spread agricultural lime on fields. Several companies such as Stoltzfus Spreaders manufacture spreaders for this purpose.

Agricultural lime is injected into coal burners at power plants to reduce the NOX and SO2 from the emissions.


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See also

External links

  1. corrected lime potential (formula)
  2. "One Hundred Harvests Research Branch Agriculture Canada 1886-1986". Historical series / Agriculture Canada - Série historique / Agriculture Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2008-12-22.