Agricultural Lime Enhancing Soil Health And Crop Yields

Agricultural Lime – enhancing soil health and crop yields

Lime plays an essential role in UK agriculture, enhancing soil health and maximising crop yields. It is a natural resource that contains calcium carbonate (CaCo3). The application of agricultural lime to fields not only provides essential nutrients for plant growth but also helps regulate soil acidity (pH) levels. The application of lime can significantly affect the potential productivity of both arable and grassland farms, and its use helps reduce yield losses and nutrient deficiencies.

The importance of agricultural lime

Agricultural lime is a cost-effective solution for countering the adverse effects of high soil acidity. It is a vital farming material that profoundly impacts crop success. Calcium, one of the essential plant nutrients, plays a crucial role in cell wall construction, providing strength to plants and supporting their overall health and growth functions. By providing an adequate supply of calcium, agricultural lime ensures that plants have the necessary nutrients to thrive. It also has a key role in continued environmental sustainability and underpinning the fundamentals for a healthy soil.

Benefits of agricultural Lime

Regulating soil acidity

The primary function of applying lime is to ensure that the pH of the soil is as close as possible to the optimum required for growing specific crops. pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity, with the optimum being around 6.5 for mineral soils under continuous arable cropping. Soils can vary in pH from around 4 (very acidic) up to 8 for very alkaline soils with the target being around 6.7. The application of lime can help raise the pH of acidic soils.

Over time, the soil pH will gradually fall due to a variety of natural causes such as crop uptake, rainfall, and leaching of calcium in drainage water. Left unchecked, the acidity of the soil will increase, and the yields of the crops will be negatively affected.

Enhancing nutrient availability

Agricultural lime plays a crucial role in optimising nutrient availability. It helps create favorable soil pH conditions for the absorption of essential nutrients by plant roots. In acidic soils, the major plant nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash (NPK) will be less available to the plant, which will then have a negative effect on crop yields. By maintaining the appropriate pH range, agricultural lime ensures that plants can efficiently take up nutrients, leading to improved crop yields and overall plant health.

Improving soil structure

Soil is a natural living medium containing microorganisms and worms that will help break down plant and animal residues as part of their natural cycle. In addition to its role in pH regulation and nutrient availability, agricultural lime improves soil structure and increases earthworm activity.

Quality agricultural lime from Johnston Quarries

Johnston Quarries supply agricultural lime from their quarries in Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire. Our limestone is carefully screened to achieve the relevant standards. It is important that agricultural lime will spread evenly and accurately when being applied to the soil. The lime must also be fine enough to mix with the soil. The harder the limestone, the finer it needs to be in order to be easily incorporated. Growers can sometimes be offered coarser, cheaper lime products but these can take years longer to achieve the desired liming effect.

Neutralising value

The higher the neutralizing value the more effective the product will be. Johnston Quarry regularly test their agricultural lime and the results are available to our customers.

The neutralising value (NV) gives the relative effectiveness of a liming material compared with that of pure calcium oxide (CaO). When making a comparison between different liming materials, it is important to take into account the price, neutralizing value, and the fineness of the material. By dealing with Johnston Quarry, you can be assured of being supplied with a quality, cost-effective product, popular and respected by farmers and growers alike in Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire.

Agricultural lime is sold under the Fertiliser Regulations 1991, which gives specifications for the range of agricultural liming materials available in the UK. These specifications can be found here.

The lime supplied from Johnston Quarries is a screened limestone and is an excellent choice for reducing soil acidity and improving soil fertility.

Please contact us for a quote or to discuss your requirements.

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