If you have acidic soils there is no better time to lime than this year. With phosphates and potash at all time highs, lime is comparatively cheap. Not to mention that where lime is needed you can expect a 10%-40% yield increase, according to the University of Wisconsin. Few crop inputs can boast this type of response.
With commodity prices sliding, farmers have been questioning every input. One that we deal with is, isn't ag lime cheaper and lasts longer than SuperCal 98G?
In many cases for equivalent rates of SuperCal 98G is actually cheaper than ag lime. This is because since 100% of 98G works in the field, you have to haul less to the field. Most ag lime is only 50% effective, but you'll pay the truck freight for the whole ton. Since SuperCal 98G is pelleted it can be spread with other fertilizers reducing application costs. Also you do not lose hundreds of pounds of 98G to drift like with ag lime.
What about longevity of lime? Isn't ag lime the best choice for a landowner? We don't think so, and here's why. The longevity of ag lime is due to how coarse it is. Since most ag lime averages 20-30 mesh, after 4 years is only 45% available. Or to put in another way you spend $40 per acre for 2 tons of lime and don't get a payback for 8 years.
Think of lime like phosphates, you could put 8 years of phosphate out and you technically wouldn't be wasting your money, it becomes available over a number of years. Is that really the most efficient way to apply phosphates? Not only do you tie up a tremendous amount of money, you could be throwing your soil out of balance and making some nutrients unavailable. This is exactly what happens when you only lime every 3-5 years.
There is a much more efficient way to lime, a way the returns money on your investment in the same year. In a test plot I had with a neighbor we applied 400# of SuperCal 98G after the corn was planted and received a 30-bushel gain. That's a return of $150 for $25 investment in the same year.
The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!