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  #21  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:53 AM
yoderj@cox.net yoderj@cox.net is offline
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8 ton per acre???? Don't think that much would be needed. Especially at one time. 2 ton at a time and you can go up to 3 for a single application but that is pushing the envelope pretty hard. Usually you should apply 2 ton per year until the amount called for on soil test is reached . Too high of a PH can be just as problematic as too low. This is considering a clay type soil, just guessing it would be similar on sandy soils.

As far as being cheap, if you are over applying, you are wasting money. A soil test provides good balance between the wallet and good crop production.

8 tons/acre has to be a typo. Short of mine acid drainage, I can't imagine applying 8 tons at once. My soil tests always warn that when recommendations exceed 3 tons/ac one should break up the application not to exceed 2 tons/acre every 6 months.

I would love to see the soil test that recommends 8 tons/acre. If I got a test result like that, I'd be tempted to re-test with another lab.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:54 AM
broom_jm broom_jm is offline
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I'm trying to picture what an acre of ground would look like, covered with 8 tons of lime.

This is the inherent danger of getting advice on the Internet. That could be a fat-fingered reply, or a cerebrally-challenged reply, but if the OP took it seriously and applied 8 TONS of lime per acre, he'd just be wasting money. Thankfully there are good folks on here to set the record straight, so long as the OP sticks around long enough to get solid info.

I look at lime like adding pepper to my venison chili. I start out with a pretty good amount, but like to let it cook and do a taste test before adding more, which I apply judiciously. Too much lime won't "ruin" your food plot, but with a reasonable amount of discretion and restraint, along with a soil test every other year, it's no trick to get your soil right. Two or three years in a row of 2 tons per acre will fix the pH on just about ANY soil, such that it will grow the stuff most food-plotters are interested in.
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  #23  
Old 04-04-2012, 12:42 PM
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dgallow dgallow is offline
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If you can't do lime this year, then focus the $$ on extra K20 if you need K...K will hold better (displace H and attach to colloids) in most soils at lower pH because there is more room than say when soil is saturated with Ca. Do the lime when you can.

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Originally Posted by OUTDOORS ADDICT View Post
lime..lime and more lime..... 8 tons per acre, and discing each time between 2 ton drops!!!


I used to skimp on lime....and it took years to grow stuff.
Now I slam any new plot, very hard with lime. A nearby farmer gave me the tip.
Still cheap if you buy in bulk...

Not badgering you here...simple curious about your soils and what you do?

These the high Mg low Ca soils of MN?

If so, a good plan you have and wise advice from the farmer. Mg is the cog in the wheel there. So you are doing 2 ton per year or all 8 at one time? I am interesting in these soil tests (Ca and Mg levels) and what exactly you do?

2 ton incorporated then 2 ton on top in one season would work then repeat a couple years down the road. Too much Ca at one time can hurt more than it helps.

Understand applied lime does not completely activate in one year and what you apply last year will be activating this year. The rule of thumb is that about 1 ton of applied lime actvates within a year, and the remainder of the application remains in the soil as 'free calcium carbonate' or 'free-lime'. Ca is a 'bully' and it can push some things out of your soil...the good with the bad.

Here is a hypothetical diagram to help understand:

Soil test calling for 6T lime and agronomist recommending no more than 3T lime per year for that area. 2 tons of ag lime applied each fall in 3 succesive years....results at yr end:

Year....applied lime....tons activated lime........tons free lime.....total soil lime
1..........2................1..................... ...........1......................1
2..........2................2..................... ............2......................2
3..........2................3..................... ............3......................3
4..........0................4..................... ............2......................2
5..........0................5..................... ............1......................1
6..........0................6..................... ............0......................0

Some soils may or may not funtion well with 3 tons of lime (free + applied) in year 3...plants may show some 'hidden hunger'. That is the area where one needs to be careful with lime accounting....don't let free-lime + applied lime exceed the soil/area recommendations. Test annually and monitor if in doubt or wait 1 yr per ton applied before putting more. The higher the rock content of your soil, then the more you should be carefull....IMO....BTW the test lab or agronomist probably don't know your rock:soil count.
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Good white clover read: search for 'white clover'
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  #24  
Old 04-13-2012, 02:43 PM
Bad Lt Bad Lt is offline
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I just opened up a new plot of an acre and was thinking of doing clover. I am waiting for the test results but the rest of the property was about 5.6-6.0. I cant get a mower to the plot would it be bad to put buckwheat in and let it go to seed. Will I have problems with it volunteering next year. I am just looking to build the soil a bit but I dont want to open a can of worms becuase I could just put clover there and cut under in the fall. When woudl it be safe to plant buckwheat up here anyway, pretty sure we need to be out of any threat of frost.
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2012, 08:43 PM
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I just opened up a new plot of an acre and was thinking of doing clover. I am waiting for the test results but the rest of the property was about 5.6-6.0. I cant get a mower to the plot would it be bad to put buckwheat in and let it go to seed. Will I have problems with it volunteering next year. I am just looking to build the soil a bit but I dont want to open a can of worms becuase I could just put clover there and cut under in the fall. When woudl it be safe to plant buckwheat up here anyway, pretty sure we need to be out of any threat of frost.

The only thing I know about buckwheat is it will do best in vary warm soils, like close to 70 degrees from what I have read.
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  #26  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:07 PM
broom_jm broom_jm is offline
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I just opened up a new plot of an acre and was thinking of doing clover. I am waiting for the test results but the rest of the property was about 5.6-6.0. I cant get a mower to the plot would it be bad to put buckwheat in and let it go to seed. Will I have problems with it volunteering next year. I am just looking to build the soil a bit but I dont want to open a can of worms becuase I could just put clover there and cut under in the fall. When woudl it be safe to plant buckwheat up here anyway, pretty sure we need to be out of any threat of frost.

Can you get a disc to this plot, but not a mower?

Buckwheat is a good choice for out-competing weeds, giving you a nice clean field to plant in that fall, and it's good for adding OM to the soil when you till it under. If your hope is to plant it in the spring and leave it all year, with a follow-up planting of something else, I don't think you'll be very happy with it. If you let it go to seed, yes, you'll have volunteer seed coming up in subsequent plantings.

Buckwheat germinates well at anything above 50 degrees and grows best in warmer soil temps. Don't plant before about June 1st. Use the time between now and then to spray -- disc -- wait 2 or 3 weeks -- and repeat. If you can't get back to disc in the buckwheat and plant a cereal or brassica plot for the fall, I don't recommend putting in the BW. Maybe an oats/clover mix would be better for your needs.

Last edited by broom_jm : 04-14-2012 at 08:06 AM.
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  #27  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:29 AM
OUTDOORS ADDICT OUTDOORS ADDICT is offline
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dgallow....I am in the central sandy area of Wi.


The farm is in the same area. I try to disc in the lime every application.
The farm also studied Iowa liming applications and farming where they try to get the ph high for the whole 18" of discable soil.


I contacted the UW madison agronomy dept and they kind of echoed his same thoughts....and said the same that it might take a full 3 years to fully chemically matabolize. That being said, in sandy soil it also leaches though. Probably another reason the farm has better success, slamming on high amounts of lime.

I am not an agronomist by any means, but I have rarely heard of people in our area achieving too high of ph. And from what I observe, too low of lime and ph..only equals wasted seed money and time. This I am an expert in!!! lol.


I helped a friend renew a 2 acre plot late last year, and tossed some pell lime on it, but really didnt do it right. Today I hand shovelled 13,000lbs on that plot....project we will probably slam it again either June 1 or end of july for a late summer/fall plant. Only 1/2 the plot had stuff growing, and over all the turn out was marginal. Going back to my own school of hard knocks, we tossed out about 6.5 ton by hand, 3 loads and 5 hours. It looks like lime cow pies about every 5 feet, but it works.
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  #28  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:33 AM
OUTDOORS ADDICT OUTDOORS ADDICT is offline
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dgallow....I will add this too. Where everone is saying dont disc, and dont compact the soil, the UW agronomy dept said exactly the opposite. When trying to raise, lime, mixing it is key. They said to disc it 3 times per year, when you are in the phase of develping ph. The more mixing the better. The opposite of what you hear farmers say, that already have developed ph.


Interesting I thought worthy of noting.
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  #29  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by OUTDOORS ADDICT View Post
dgallow....I will add this too. Where everone is saying dont disc, and dont compact the soil, the UW agronomy dept said exactly the opposite. When trying to raise, lime, mixing it is key. They said to disc it 3 times per year, when you are in the phase of develping ph. The more mixing the better. The opposite of what you hear farmers say, that already have developed ph.


Interesting I thought worthy of noting.

Other reasons to not disk or turn the ground which effects the soil structure its self. Any no-till farmer worth his salt will tell you that you have to add lime and incorporate it along with breaking up compaction and address any drainage problems before starting an effective no-till program. I think the key here is these farmers have already developed their PH and can top dress minimum amounts of lime letting it filter down into the root zone. These farmers are looking at feeding their soils as much as feeding the plants, not just mining nutrients from the soil they have. I can honestly say I have learned more about this on this forum than anywhere else. I knew the principal behind this but thanks to people like Doug, have learned quite a bit more.

As Doug pointed out earlier, with a healthy soil biology, Ca can be broken down faster thus move through the soil quicker, in turn being available to plants quicker. Of course, this can take many years to develop this type of soil structure.

I am not against turning the soil but there are just as many benefits, if not more important benefits, that come from no-till as from conventional tillage. And some soils are just not good candidates for no-till.
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Last edited by Smallplot : 04-14-2012 at 07:59 AM.
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  #30  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:22 AM
broom_jm broom_jm is offline
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ODA,

Agronomists know soil and they know how to grow things, but you are losing sight of the fact that most of their focus is on commercial agriculture, not food plotting for wildlife.

Why improve 18" of SAND, when what you need is 4-6" of SOIL? Given that the ground you're working with is sandy for more than the top 18", and rain will ultimately wash lime out of that soil profile, why dump twice the recommended amount all at one time? It's just going to wash away at a much higher rate, as well. Applying two tons every other year will work just as well, after the first year, as applying 8 tons all at once. In fact, you may be reaching a successful conclusion based on the gradual effects of your FIRST liming application, versus the enormous amount applied later. There are countless documented cases (including a brand new thread in this very forum) showing how applying the indicated amount of lime works very well, over the course of 2-5 years.

I have land across the lake from you, with the same sandy conditions. I only concern myself with the top 4-6" of soil, never discing any deeper than that. For guys like us, with more sand than soil, compaction is not likely to EVER be an issue. (Ever heard the expression, "Go pound sand!"? ) Our goal needs to be improving that critical top layer of soil, such as it is, so that the various legumes, cereals and brassicas can grow. Throwing 8 tons of lime at an acre of sand STILL isn't going to introduce the missing silt and clay that would turn it into REAL soil.

Can you document where the agronomist recommended the outrageous amounts of lime you're using?

Last edited by broom_jm : 04-14-2012 at 08:25 AM.
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  #31  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:09 AM
OUTDOORS ADDICT OUTDOORS ADDICT is offline
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Broom...the agronomist didnt recommend it, the farmer did, and said he studied lots of case studies and articals regarding Iowa farming. He is a very aggressive farmer for the area and does very,very well. I believe what he was saying was legit.

yes....for food plotting, I do just work probably 4-8" of soil, plenty for what I am doing. The point more over was that real farmers in Iowa were trying to have consistant ca or ph as deep as 18".


One thing I am confused on is leaching. Some people say rain will leach the lime out. The UW agronomist I talked to said lime will only leach a very,very small distance, like 1/4" per year if I remember, or maybe a maximum of 1" So I really didnt worry about my large amounts of lime going away. I have to admit I havent soil tested in a while and probably should check it again. My plots are only probably 1/2 acre, so it seems like kind of a waste of money. When the ph is right there is a night and day difference in what I can grow.
After that, lime is just cheap insurance.
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  #32  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:01 PM
yoderj@cox.net yoderj@cox.net is offline
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Wow! We have very different soils. I've got VA clay with low pH, but once amended, it stays for quite a while. I learn something new on here every day it seems. I'm just shocked at 8 tons/ac. I really thought it was a typo.

Here is what I can't figure. Lime moves through soil at a certain rate, depending on the soil. I understand it moves much faster through your sandy soil. So, I can understand how you would need to add lime more often, but I can't understand how additional lime helps. Perhaps Dgallow can explain it to us.

I've also got to wonder what kind of OM you've got in that sandy soil. Have you ever done side by side tests where you've added megalime to one field and soil test recommend amounts to the other? Your soil is so different from mine that it might not apply, but one of the notes on my soil test recommends splitting application over a certain amount because plants don't respond to the additional lime above a certain level. It seems intuitive to me that with sandy soil, one would want to apply lesser amounts more frequently. I'm sure things are more complicated than that.

Thanks,

Jack
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  #33  
Old 04-14-2012, 09:50 PM
broom_jm broom_jm is offline
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Wow! We have very different soils. I've got VA clay with low pH, but once amended, it stays for quite a while. I learn something new on here every day it seems. I'm just shocked at 8 tons/ac. I really thought it was a typo.

Here is what I can't figure. Lime moves through soil at a certain rate, depending on the soil. I understand it moves much faster through your sandy soil. So, I can understand how you would need to add lime more often, but I can't understand how additional lime helps. Perhaps Dgallow can explain it to us.

I've also got to wonder what kind of OM you've got in that sandy soil. Have you ever done side by side tests where you've added megalime to one field and soil test recommend amounts to the other? Your soil is so different from mine that it might not apply, but one of the notes on my soil test recommends splitting application over a certain amount because plants don't respond to the additional lime above a certain level. It seems intuitive to me that with sandy soil, one would want to apply lesser amounts more frequently. I'm sure things are more complicated than that.

Thanks,

Jack

Things are not more complicated than that, Jack...they are exactly as your intuition would lead you to believe. Lick Creek (aka dbltree) is originally from the Thumb area of Michigan. He's familiar with sandy loams. I am not putting words in his mouth, but I've also never heard him advocate exceeding 2 tons/year for lime. 8 tons of lime is what you might apply over a 10 year period on light, sandy soils...not an amount you would dump in one or two applications.

The simple truth is that sandy soils desperately need OM, along with timely applications of lime and fertilizer. There is no silt or clay to inhibit the leaching of nutrients out of sandy soils. I can't speak for other regions of the country, but in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, where my land is located, farmers stick to what will grow on the land they have. I will talk with the guys at the feed n' grain where I get my seed and amendments...maybe some folks DO lime at greatly elevated rates and I'm not aware of it.

For food plotters, using lime at that rate is both cheap insurance and a false economy. I'm working with a 20 acre area that will just barely grow moss and lichens, holding down what the MSU labs called "weakly buffered soil". In other words it's not sandy loam, or loamy sand...it's sandy SAND! There is no duff on the surface; no soil profile; no OM to speak of...it's dry as a bone 30 minutes after a rain. This stuff is an umbrella and a bottle of sunscreen away from being a BEACH!

I use pelletized lime and go light on the fertilizer. I plant buckwheat in the summer and WR with chicory in the fall. In a few years, with enough OM built up in the soil, it will hold moisture and nutrients better than it does now. I still won't go insane with the lime and I'll never EVER till this ground more than 4" deep. Doing so would ruin years of effort in the space of an hour or two with the discs set too deep.

In some places, you have to face a very stark reality: Sand is not soil! Soil is a mixture of sand, silt and clay, with ideal soil having a fairly low percentage of sand. If your "soil" doesn't have any silt or clay, what you have left is sand. The sooner you accept this and work with what you have, the sooner you properly identify what will work on your ground and your expectations can be adjusted accordingly. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but you CAN grow a decent wildlife food plot on very sandy soil.

The thing is, you can't make true soil out of sand, no matter how much lime you use or how much OM you add/grow. What you can do is carefully cultivate the top layer of "soil" and improve it enough to grow a handful of things deer will eat quite readily.

Trying to turn 18" of sand into the rich black loam of the Ohio Valley is an exercise in futility.

Last edited by broom_jm : 04-14-2012 at 09:53 PM.
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