Agricultural Lime Drift

AGGRAND Natural Liquid Lime is a simple, low mess, effective way to address soil pH and calcium deficiency issues. No more ag lime drift blowing your money into the wind and onto someone else’s property and no more wasted fertilizer applications, waiting for your ag lime to take effect. Plenty of crop research has shown that low pH issues can reduce fertilizer effectiveness by as much as 50% or more. Quit throwing your money way. Switch to a better way.

Why is Lime So Necessary to Begin With

If you already understand the basic soil mechanics of why lime is so useful, the video below might not be of much use, but, if you’ve simply applied lime because you were told you should, but never really knew why, you may find the video below to be a big help. It’s not super technical or detailed. Just a good basic explanation of the value of liming your fields.

Of course, farmers who are utilizing AGGRAND fertilizers find that, over time, their need for constant liming of the fields is significantly decreased, reducing or eliminating that expense entirely. But, for those who are not there yet, lime is a very useful tool to improve crop performance.

So, What Makes AGGRAND Liquid Lime Better?

It primarily comes down to the fact that 100% of the particles within the AGGRAND liquid lime product are NO MORE than about 50 microns in size (because 100% of our product will pass through a 325 mesh sieve). In contrast, typically no more than 50-60% of the particles in an agricultural lime product will pass through a 60 mesh screen. Thus, only 50-60% of the particles are less than 250 microns. The other 40-50% can typically be much larger.

Thus, all of the particles in an ag lime product are AT LEAST 5 times as big as the particles in our liquid lime and, on the average; the particle size is probably more like 10 times as large or more. Since lime neutralizes acid by physical surface contact between the lime particles and the soil particles, the smaller the particle size, the more surface area is contacting the soil particles.

As an example: take one of those Rubik’s cubes that used to be so popular. If you were to measure the actual TOTAL surface area of one of those cubes it would have been about 54 square inches (give or take a little bit). But, when you couldn’t solve the puzzle and took the thing apart (so you could put it back together in perfect order and pretend that you had solved it) you had 26 little 6 sided cubes (no actual cube in the center made it 26 instead of 27 cubes). Each cube individually had a TOTAL surface area of about 6 square inches. Multiply that by 26 cubes and you’ve got nearly 156 square inches of total surface area, compared to only 54 on the original cube.

Same principle here. With particles on average 10 times larger, the particles in an agricultural lime will have approximately 1/3 the surface area of the particles in our liquid lime product. That fact alone accounts for a significant increase in the speed of pH adjustment as well as a corresponding decrease in the amount of product needed. But that is only a small part of the story.

For the particles in a lime product to actually affect a pH change, they have to penetrate the surface of the soil and work their way down in. That is why it is typically recommended that bagged lime products are tilled in to affect a faster pH change. With particles so large in a typical bagged lime product, unless you are applying it to a very coarse sandy soil, the particles are actually too large to pass in between the soil particles.

AGGRAND liquid lime particles, on the other hand, penetrate the soil profile very easily because the particle size more closely resembles that of a silt/loam type soil. Even on clay soils, where the soil particle size is under 2 microns (considerably smaller than even the liquid lime particles) it is still much easier for the liquid lime particles to penetrate the soil profile than the ag lime particles.

Also, the acid reduction reaction can only take place when the soil is moist. Since the “liquid” lime product is applied with a large quantity of water to begin with, this speeds the process even more. One other benefit of the AGGRAND liquid lime product is that it provides an immediately available source of calcium to whatever you apply it to.

For any application that does not readily offer the option of tilling in your lime application, a liquid lime is ideal, since pH buffering occurs very quickly with NO tilling necessary.

How Much Liquid Lime is Necessary?

Well, that question depends upon what you intend on accomplishing. Liquid lime could technically (although not practically) be used in one of two ways. It can either be used as a direct substitute for agricultural lime OR it can be used as a method of avoiding the pH issue altogether.

Allow me to explain myself a bit …

If you are truly looking for a major pH adjustment, then, although using our liquid lime will be much more convenient, it will also be MUCH more costly than ag lime because it is more expensive and you will need ALOT of it to achieve the same long-term pH adjustment – far more than you could ever reasonably apply and certainly far more than would be financially feasible.

But, keep in mind that it takes ag lime MUCH longer to address the pH issue than an liquid lime. It can easily be 9-18 months or more before the entirety of an ag lime application is “used up” and affects a change in pH. Of course, over that time, if you’re using crop/turf management practices that are acidifying the soil, such as the use of synthetic fertilizer products, you’ll probably never get the full pH adjustment that you were looking for because you’ll be counteracting your own liming efforts. But, the lime will continue to work over the whole 1-2 year period.

Unfortunately, while you’re waiting for the ag lime to work, all of your other efforts will be hampered by the fact that your pH isn’t “up to snuff” (and your soil is likely deficient in Calcium – a critical nutrient). Thus, you’ll be wasting money on fertilizer and labor that is not accomplishing all that it could if the pH and calcium levels were where they should be.

In contrast, addressing pH and calcium deficiencies with our liquid lime will be very quick, but short-lived, which means that all of your efforts in the short term will be MUCH more effective. Moreover, if you continue to utilize management practices that lower soil pH, you’ll be back where you started in no time at all. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides cause rapid acidification of the soil, quickly negating any efforts to address low pH issues.

So, our liquid lime product is great for as a short-term buffering solution and calcium supplement. However, in order to keep a more neutral pH and minimize the need for continued liming of the plot, you must transition to crop/turf management practices that will not consistently lower pH. If not, you could be applying liquid lime quite frequently to deal with consistent low pH and calcium deficiency issues.

A Change in Your Thinking

Why are you trying to adjust pH in the first place? To improve plant growth and health while keeping costs reasonable enough to make a profit, right? In the end, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

So, if there was a less expensive, completely effective way to accomplish that end goal (good growth and health) while not significantly changing soil pH , would that be acceptable? If you’re in business to make money, I would think that it would be.

We have numerous commercial growers, turf managers and food plot growers who are doing just that. They are growing phenomenal crops and turf with soil pH in the 5.0 range, much lower than would typically lend itself to good growth.

How are they doing it? By using the AGGRAND liquid lime product as a temporary buffer instead of as a pH reducer. By applying just 1-2 gallons per acre of our liquid lime product along with our AGGRAND Organic Fertilizer, they are basically fooling their crops and turf into thinking that soil pH is where it should be (and providing a critical source of calcium), so that the plants can make efficient use of the fertilizer being applied.

Typically, they’ll do this 2-4 times per season – in the same application with our liquid fertilizer (avoiding the hassle of doing separate liming applications). So, what does that cost? Well, depending upon how much acreage they have to cover, the cost of our liquid lime can be as low as $15/gallon or less.

Maintaining Neutral Soil pH Without Liming

In truth, soils that are cared for more naturally and that encourage earthworm and microbial activity will, over time, neutralize their own pH. Soils that are high in pH will see pH reductions over time as more and more earthworm and microbial activity is seen. Amazingly, though, low pH soils will see a pH increase with that same earthworm and microbial activity. Therefore, moving to more natural soil and plant care methods will, over time, address soil pH all by itself. It’s worth considering.

For more information related to the significant differences between organic and chemical fertilization practices, check out the other articles in the “Technical Product Info” area.