Here Comes Fall. Time to Lime.

Sep 12, 2023

Fall applications of ag lime are best for next year's crop.
The pun was probably intended: “Stay on top of your ag lime needs. Don’t ‘fall’ behind,” said Ryan Peterson, Federated’s custom application manager. It’s time to plan for fall ag lime applications because “soil pH is just as important as fertility,” he said. (These charts show the availability of nutrients based on pH levels.)
Peterson recommends making a long-term plan for ag lime to keep soil pH in balance:
  • Soil sample every field to determine exactly what you need.
  • Apply ag lime to the worst fields first, then outline a plan for ‘x’ tons every year thereafter. Waiting until pH levels drop to low levels before applying ag lime is more costly than staying on top of pH over time.
Aside from correcting pH levels, ag lime can improve the physical structure of the soil; it helps crops tolerate drought or wet conditions by increasing both root penetration and water percolation through the soil.

Ag lime has also been shown to improve the effectiveness of herbicides, increasing nutrient availability to the plants while adding calcium to the soil.

“Fall is by far the best time to apply ag lime,” said Peterson, because it has time to get incorporated into the soil, making it more available for the next growing season. Ag lime can also be applied on snow if the topography has little risk of runoff.
“And if you have plans to seed down alfalfa,” Peterson said, “it’s best to get the ag lime applied a year or two in advance so it has time to fully activate into the soil – don’t wait till the last minute on this.”
Don’t miss your chance to maximize ag lime’s potential – apply it this fall. Call your Federated Agronomist to get on the application schedule. (See related article on two options.)

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