Agricultural lime, also known as aglime and garden lime, is a valuable and versatile soil additive that plays a crucial role in supporting healthy plant growth and increasing agricultural productivity.
Whether you’re a farmer or simply enjoy producing vegetables in your backyard, having an understanding of the benefits and considerations of agricultural lime is essential for achieving sustainable and successful crop production.
So, here it is. Bruhn Limestone’s essential guide to agricultural lime that covers all the important aspects you need to know.
The Benefits of Agricultural Lime
Why use agricultural lime on a farm or a backyard garden in the first place? Agricultural lime provides many advantages with the three major benefits being:
1. It’s estimated that 12 to 24 million hectares of agricultural land in Australia is extremely to highly acidic. Around half is considered acidic. If you have acidic soils, a key benefit of agricultural lime is its ability to raise the soil pH. This creates optimal microbial activity and nutrient availability conditions, ultimately supporting healthy plant growth.
2. Agricultural lime contributes essential nutrients such as calcium and magnesium to the soil, promoting the overall fertility of the land. By increasing nutrient availability, agricultural lime enables crops to absorb vital nutrients, leading to improved plant health and higher yield potentials.
3. Lime positively affects soil structure by promoting aggregation, reducing compaction and enhancing drainage. Improving soil structure with lime allows plant root systems to extend deeper into the ground, improving access to water, nutrients, and air.
Types of agricultural lime
There are three main sources of agricultural lime in Australia:
- Calcitic lime, which is derived from limestone.
- Dolomitic lime, made from dolomite, which like limestone is a sedimentary carbonate rock.
- Hydrated lime is made by adding water to a chemical compound called calcium oxide.
If you’re applying agricultural lime to a home garden, it’s simple. Buy your lime from a hardware store or nursery, open the bag, put your mitt in and throw it around. It’s a good idea to cultivate the soil before adding and watering in well after the application.
On a farm, while the scale may be bigger the steps are essentially the same. The lime is usually applied to the soil using a spreader that’s towed behind a tractor.
Considerations and precautions
Here are some things to keep in mind about agricultural lime:
- While much of Australia, including Australian gardens, can have acidic soil, it’s best to conduct soil tests before applying lime. To determine the soil’s pH, a simple test kit can be purchased. Farmers will collect and test soil samples from various areas of their paddocks.
- Agricultural lime is generally applied during autumn or winter to allow time for the pH level to adjust before the planting season.
- Follow recommended application rates and don’t over-apply lime. Over applying can potentially make a soil too alkaline and lead to lime runoff.
- While we were flippant with the description of how to apply lime to your home garden, it’s wise to wear appropriate protective gear, including gloves, googles and a dust mask.
Purchase agricultural lime from Bruhn Limestone
As well as producing and supplying limestone products for the building industry, Bruhn Limestone also supplies agricultural lime. Our lime is rich in magnesium and calcium and is perfect for neutralising acidic soils.
While it’s a premium level agricultural lime, it doesn’t come at a premium price. Our lime is incredibly affordable – in fact we believe we offer the best price for high quality lime in the South East of South Australia.
If you’re looking for agricultural lime or lime for road rubble, contact Bruhn Limestone on (08) 8721 8000. We can link you to one of our many well established distributors who can arrange delivery direct to your site.