Figure 1 ton of pellet lime = 1 ton of powdered ag lime if the ECCE, ENV, ENP etc rating is with 10% for each product....82% and 89% ECCE is close enough...90% and 100% is close enough...1700 lbs ENP and 1850 lbs ENP is close enough.
Worry more about how often you should apply lime, the type of lime (calcite or dolomite), and when to apply lime so soil isn't compacted by wheel traffic....IMO.
I havent done any research into it, but I am wondering, how does pellet lime work faster? I would think it would be slower than ag lime because the actual pellet would need to dissolve before going into the soil wouldnt it? I am just curious.
Banc answered this very very well....
The pellet will dissolve just by existing soil moisture, its particles are powder fine vs ag lime that has many different granular sizes. However, when ENV is calculated, it takes into effect particle size so that wouldn't hold true if both ENVs are the same. Those measures are based on a 1year time frame. i.e. over 1 year if you match up the measure, its basing it on a years time. There is no magic bean , however in poor pH soils while the quickness at which pH changes is based on the soil type more than the lime; it can help right away with low Ca poor pH soils. Have tested and confirmed an adequately limed new soil performs better than non at all in the first crop cycle. At least in my soil.
And I will double the notion....same thing explained by 2 folks may help.
Yes, that is good practicle common sense...pellet dissolves then lime begins dispersion. To see how long takes to dissolve the pellets, fill a quart jar about 3/4 full with rainwater and place it on a stable platform outside.....add a thin layer of pellets to the jar and see how long it takes for a uniform lime layer to appear. Use this information for that pellet product in your management timing. It takes less rainfall on my farm to get ag lime working/moving in the soil profile compared to pellets...again just practical field observations on 9-16CEC sandy loams/loams.
If carbonate purity is roughly the same (within 2-5%) for a powdered lime and a pellet lime and the ECCE score is about the same (within 10%), then the particle size distribution will be about the same. Uneveness of spread and the equipment will likely be the biggest error....+/- 100 lbs per ac or +/- 500 lbs per ac?
Where does pellet lime come from? The same quarry where a powdered ag lime comes from...another practical thought!
If lime is applied well ahead of planting, then it does not matter which product you use...IME and IMO. With the recent increased frequency of lime questions, I suspect timing is a bigger issue for most plotters. The bulk of lime effects in the soil occur over a 1- 10 yr time frame...soil, climate, management dependent.
Fall and winter powdered ag lime apps work best here for lime movement into the soil and there is less chance for soil compaction. A field observation/conformation of this is more grass root proliferation in 6" soil cores for limed that unlimed pasture areas at 3 months post application. Study each soil core and sample you take and compare areas...take good notes and make your own on-farm decisions. With the soil probe you get a snapshot of root proilferation, location of thin topsoil/problem areas (clay at the bottom of the core for example), and a rough idea of surface compaction/tightness. There is much more to it than just a 'plug in a bag'!