Limestone has been used for centuries to build homes, walls and in other constructions. However, there’s another important use for limestone, or lime, that those who work in the agricultural industry know very well.
Agricultural lime, which can also be called aglime, agricultural limestone and garden lime, is produced by simply pulverising or milling limestone. This product can then by used by farmers to improve their soil. Incidentally, it can also be used in your garden at home.
But what exactly does agricultural lime or agricultural limestone do when added to soil?
Benefits of agricultural lime
There are many benefits to spreading agricultural lime onto farmlands. These include:
- Lime spread onto agricultural land – or any soil – will reduce soil acidity and raise soil pH. Low pH soils are an issue in many parts of Australia. For example, in South Australia, soil acidity is the second biggest threat to agricultural soils. It’s second only to soil erosion.
- When soils are acidic, important nutrients can’t be released to plants at optimum levels. Therefore, crops will suffer and their growth and health will not be optimised.
- It also means that efforts to fertilise and improve nutrient levels in the agricultural soil will be at least partially wasted.
- It’s estimated that the cost to agricultural production in Australia due to soil acidity is a staggering $1,585 million each year.
- Adding agricultural lime will increase important nutrients in the soil, which in turn are then available for crops. Which nutrients can depend on the source of the limestone, however, calcium and magnesium are common examples.
- Limestone can improve the soil structure of some soils. For example, added to heavy clay soil, lime will help break down the clay and make it easier for water to penetrate to the crop’s root system.
- Aglime can help aid the compositing of organic matter in the soil, such as the residue from previous crops. This helps improve the quality of the soil and encourages activity of worms.
- Agricultural lime is relatively inexpensive. What’s more, when used effectively, the investment is likely to provide higher returns in crop production over many years.
How is agricultural lime added to soils
If you’re adding lime to a garden area, it’s as simple as applying in the recommended rates for your soil and then digging it in. On agricultural lands of many thousands of hectares, it’s a much bigger job.
On a farm, lime is generally added to the soil using a spreader towed behind a tractor. For best results, it’s then ploughed into the soil. In essence, it’s the same as for a small vegetable patch, just on a bigger scale.
Bruhn Limestone sells lime.
While Bruhn Limestone is best known for quarrying and supplying premium quality Mount Gambier limestone, we also sell lime.
Our lime is rich in magnesium and calcium. It’s a premium product for agriculture and has a 97 per cent neutralising value. We also sell rubble of between 50 millimetres and 80 millimetres, which is particularly useful as a road base.
If you’d like to find out more about our agricultural lime or our road base rubble, give us a call on (08) 8721 8000.