Spring is an excellent time to address soil acidity with 98G

by | Mar 22, 2023 | Ag

Spring is an excellent time to address soil acidity with 98G
Many areas have not been able to apply limestone this fall/winter due to challenging field conditions.  Other areas have been more successful with field operations to date, but everyone is looking at the calendar and noting that spring is just around the corner. Concern over these delayed applications and related impacts have resulted in many questions regarding the use of 98G this spring.
98G is an effective tool for correcting or maintaining soil pH and can be applied in the fall or spring.  While fall is the preferred time, due to less operational demands compared to spring, spring applications are very effective and will result in pH adjustments benefitting the upcoming crop.  
We continue to see very positive results from maintenance applications (200-300#/A) of 98G (12.6 bushels in corn vs. the control), as well as increased awareness of the concept of pH maintenance compared to the more traditional pH correction philosophy.  We will continue to validate this concept through further field trials in 2023 and beyond.

Apply 98G pelletized limestone to maintain soil pH and maximize crop yields

Maintaining proper soil pH is essential for healthy plant growth and high crop yields.

Test your soil. If you have a recent (last 2 years) soil sample, review the details, including the soil pH, and the levels of other important nutrients. If your last analysis is older than 2 years, it’s a good idea to collect new samples and have them analyzed. The substantial investment in crop inputs are well supported by having accurate soil test data available to guide in making the best decisions.

Consider the appropriate pH range for the crops you grow. Most row crops prefer soil conditions slightly acidic (6.0 water pH), but some forages, particularly alfalfa, grow best at levels closer to neutral (6.9 water pH).

Consider pH maintenance instead of correction. Maintaining pH by applying smaller amounts (200-300# of 98G) more frequently (every or every other year) results in less variation in the crop input budget, better nutrient efficiencies and improved yields.

Liming materials-Are they all the same?

Soil pH is the foundation of soil fertility, governing nutrient availability and biological and chemical interactions in the soil environment. The importance of pH has been recognized for decades, but a recently published article focuses on the need for continued emphasis on this critical soil measurement.

Dr. Antonio Mallarino, Iowa State University, published a study in 2018 regarding the influence of source and particle size on limestone efficiency. The study compared three (3) liming materials and three (3) acidic soils.

Key findings include:
1) Large differences in limestone performance due to particle size composition. The limestone scoring system used in Iowa and several other states does not differentiate between 60-mesh particles and particles finer than 60-mesh.
2) The value of differentiating between mesh sizes 60-100.
3) The value of distinguishing between calcitic and dolomitic aglime materials. Calcitic aglime were able to effect a more rapid and complete pH change compared to dolomitic aglime, even while having a lower Effective Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (ECCE) value.
4) 98G resulted in more complete and efficient pH correction than calcitic and dolomitic aglime materials.

If you would like to learn more:
Jones, J.D. and A.P Mallarino. 2018. Influence of source and particle size on agricultural limestone efficiency at increasing soil pH. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 82:271-282

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