At $22 to $25 per ton, lime may initially seem like quite a large investment. But when one considers that yield is being lost under acid conditions, the investment may not be that great. Lime will provide benefit for many years. Push the pencil. How much increase in crop yield will be needed to cover the cost of 2 or 3 tons of lime (about $55 to $78, including a spreading fee)?
Depending on the crop, increasing the soil pH from 5.5 to above 6.0 may increase crop production by 25 percent or more. Therefore, chances are pretty good that investment in needed lime will pay for itself with improved crop quality and yields in one or two years. Over a four-year period, lime will definitely put more money in your pocket.
Investment in lime will need to be made at some point in time. It is better to make that investment before the soil becomes too acidic and starts costing crop yield.
Periodically applying 2 tons of lime per acre, as indicated by a soil test, stabilizes the soil pH and crop production and is easier on the budget. In addition to neutralization of soil acidity and improved crop productivity, other benefits from applying lime include: 1) increased supply of calcium and magnesium, 2) improved microbial activity, 3) improved soil structure and quality and 4) improved efficacy of herbicides.
Bottom line: When lime is needed, get it applied. It will put more money in your pocket.
Full article can be found in the September Issue of the Vegetable Growers News.