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Old 03-15-2012, 01:53 AM
old man of the swamp old man of the swamp is offline
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Question Lime, pellets versus powder

I have three small plots ( 1/2 acre, 2/3rds acre and 2 acres) that I can not get a lime spreader to. I will have to use pelletized lime and need to know how to figure poundage compared to powder if there is one. I have sent samples off to be analyzed and don't know results yet but would like to know how to figure it once the results are back. First time to correct for PH on a food plot and any help will be appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:28 AM
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I think the ratio is the same. If your sample calls for 2 ton per acre, it doesn't matter if you use powder or pelletized,still the same. But check with a county agent or co-op to be sure.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:12 AM
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I also believe the ratio is the same. Pel lime will begin to neautrilize the soil faster, but it should at 4 times the cost of standard lime.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:45 AM
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Your soil test should tell you what measure was used to determine the amount of lime.

Some may say the recommendation is based on 100% CCE . In that case you look on the bag for that product's CCE value. Say its 90%. Then you take the 100% / 90% = 1.11 So if they say 2,000 lbs, then you use 2,000 X 1.11 = amount you need.

Some may say its based on X% ENV , you do the same , look on the bag for the ENV and do the conversion.

Just have to take the measure used on the test results and look on the back of the bag for the info to convert it.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Trapper LM View Post
I also believe the ratio is the same. Pel lime will begin to neautrilize the soil faster, but it should at 4 times the cost of standard lime.

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. This is my first year doing food plots so I have a lot to learn LOL
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:22 AM
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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.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:35 PM
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old man,

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.

Quote:
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....

Quote:
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'!
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:54 PM
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According to my COOP and soil tests it doesn't take near the pelletized lime but it doesn't last as long either.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:59 PM
old man of the swamp old man of the swamp is offline
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Thanks for the info folks. Now to get the results back and go to work. I am sure when the results come in I will have to lean on your expertise again. Can I expect to see some PH change by spring planting if I get lime out next week?
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by buckdeer1 View Post
According to my COOP and soil tests it doesn't take near the pelletized lime but it doesn't last as long either.

Ya...I've had guys in the local COOP tell me their Tyrone beans were RR. Can you imagine how disappointed someone would be who believed that? If there is one thing Dgallow knows, its dirt!
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:08 PM
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Ya...I've had guys in the local COOP tell me their Tyrone beans were RR. Can you imagine how disappointed someone would be who believed that? If there is one thing Dgallow knows, its dirt!

Amen to that! Every year i have to explain the difference between cereal rye and ryegrass to guys at my co-op.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old man of the swamp View Post
Thanks for the info folks. Now to get the results back and go to work. I am sure when the results come in I will have to lean on your expertise again. Can I expect to see some PH change by spring planting if I get lime out next week?

If the lime is 90 to 100 ECCE and you have coarse soils...sandy, sandy loams, to loams.....and you get rain you should see results within that time frame. Reaction is slower in heavier soils....silt loams, silts, clay loams, and clays.

To minimize drift with these fine limes (if they are really dry), it is best to spread in calm winds and high relative humidity...this is a 'sinking air' condition. Early morning and late evening generally the best. This may be harder to do in a custom apllication, but an advantage to those owning/renting a spreader. Spring here is normally windy...another reason I like fall but fall is normally lower humidity...a catch 22.

I often see the positive effects of Ca addition to soil before I see a pH change on the report. You may see these effects as well as I don't know your soil.

We could 'feel' under our feet the effect lime had on pasture soil in Dec which was about 2 months after application. We could visually see a positive growth/health response in some of the forages while some of the 'poof soil forages' did now like the lime and were starting to fade. Soil surface under grass was very mellow...like walking on a pillow. Part of that is Ca floculating the soil and the expansion of grass roots to give a 'sponge like' structure. I can see where the effect of lime on mitigating compatcion (floculation and root proliferation) from hoof traffic will be as important and maybe more important for us than pH change. My goal is to maintain XX soil Ca range and worry less about pH...between 6.2 and 6.8 is fine by me. I can have pH ~6.1 and still have a 'tight soil' with 'average or less' root proliferation.

In the 2nd to 5th crop cycle is where I would expect to see the pH change..your soil or mine....but you never know. Long term you are doing a very good thing for the soil...patience and perspective!
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:33 PM
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I have to say that application can be problematic. I tried to do my application in early Feb when the ground was frozen. Picked up the lime buggy with 3 tons of lime at the coop about 12 miles from the farm. Got to the farm, hooked it up to the tractor, but it would not spread the lime. The bull wheel just slid against the balloon tire as it turned. I don't know what was wrong. Sometime if you get mud on the tire this can happen, but this would not turn the chain even on a paved parking lot. I ended up taking it back to the coop. They couldn't get it to work either.

I've been trying to get my lime down ever since, but every week, we have had rain. The last thing I want is to compress the soil.

Finally, we had a dry week last week, but when I tried to reserve the lime buggy for Friday, it was already taken. I'm sure everyone else was waiting for it to dry out as well.

With the clock ticking, I decided to take a day off. I picked up the buggy Tuesday afternoon and applied 3 tons. I was able to get to the coop before they closed to get a second load. I applied another 3 tons Friday evening and then started tilling.

I have a couple fields that really need to be leveled, since they needed lime, I decided to till and level a couple of them. For most of my fields, I just top dressed.

On Wednesday, I was able to make a couple more trips to the coop and got 6 more tons applied and two of my fields tilled.

The humidity was lower than I would have liked and the fields a little drier than I would have liked, but I figured if I didn't get the lime down now, it wouldn't get done.

This weekend we will be doing a controlled burn. I hope to get one more field tilled and the other two leveled as soon as the burn is done.

I really should get a buggy that can spread lime and fertilizer.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:39 PM
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Default $$ margins on lime

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckdeer1 View Post
According to my COOP and soil tests it doesn't take near the pelletized lime but it doesn't last as long either.

Are these soil tests from the K-state lab? Or are soil samples submitted through the COOP?

The pellet plants are close to the quarries or maybe 'on-site' (SuperCal for example). The cost of pulverized lime when it is loaded on a truck at the crusher is around $10 per ton and has been for about 20 yrs or more. The truck either hauls that ag lime to your farm or to the pellet plant. Both of you pay the trucking cost. Trucking is $20-35 per ton here depending on 1) diesel price and 2) SEOK politics for a 90 mile haul.

Pellet lime prices here range from $150 - $200 per ton.

I am not an accountant or comptroller but the gross margin on the pellets is $140 to $190. So either 1) pelleting lime is extremely expensive? or 2) someone is making great money off the farmer/gardener/etc? Myself and a couple friends are having a hard time finding answers to those questions and for good reason I suspect!

I am around pelleted and loose feed quite a bit and don't see margins anywhere near that amount, but feed pelleting is a whole different process!

Think of lime as 2-10 yr land investment!
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:13 PM
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Example: if a soil test recommends the ENM equivalent of 2000 lbs of agricultural lime per acre apply 200 lbs of pelletized lime/acre). Most farmers realize that pelletized lime is not a long-term “fix”, but expect it to reduce soil acidity to tolerable levels for one year. This is what I was talking about they figure and 1:10 ratio,My levels have been staying up 2-3 years but some fields I do every other year
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckdeer1 View Post
Example: if a soil test recommends the ENM equivalent of 2000 lbs of agricultural lime per acre apply 200 lbs of pelletized lime/acre). Most farmers realize that pelletized lime is not a long-term “fix”, but expect it to reduce soil acidity to tolerable levels for one year. This is what I was talking about they figure and 1:10 ratio,My levels have been staying up 2-3 years but some fields I do every other year

Unfortunately it just doesn't work that way, they aren't giving good advice. Any amount of lime will help, but 200 lbs when it calls for 2000 won't get to the desired pH levels. Works great for maintaining , but won't get a pH in the 5s anywhere near 6.5 at 1/10 ratios.

But I always tell people, stick with what works for you. But wouldn't recommend 1/10 ratio as the norm.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:19 PM
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Banc,

Thanks for the confirmation. I've seen this pop-up on this and other boards from time to time. The danger is most food plotters don't have a lot of experience with soils and can easily take statements like the 1:10 ratio and draw the wrong conclusions.

Yes, some experienced farmers will apply a short-term "fix" using lesser amounts of pelletized lime. This DOES NOT mean 1 lb of pelletized lime= 10 lbs of ag lime.

Is using 10% of the lime you need in pelletized form better than nothing? YES. Is it anywhere close to applying the total lime you need? NO.

Thanks,

Jack
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by blumsden View Post
Amen to that! Every year i have to explain the difference between cereal rye and ryegrass to guys at my co-op.

I'm glad this thread came up. I have a similar issue. We need to lime our plots, PH's in the low 6's but we would like to plant some alfalfa. We don't have the time or resources to do it ourselves and were told by the local guy we are hiring that he can only get pellets.

Somehow the guy at the co-op, we'll call him Steve, cuz that's his name, has convinced my father that he know's everything about farming. Steve told my dad that the pellets won't work and our alfalfa will fail. We're better off waiting until next year when we can get ag lime. There is no reasoning with my dad once an "expert" has weighed in. This is the same guy who wouldn't allow us to plant anything but W.I. seed because they sent him some propaganda and a DVD.

My opinion is the pellets will work but are short term and we will have to re-lime in a year or two. Thoughts or suggestions?

By the way, our land is in KS and we are in MN.

Last edited by McLovin : 03-15-2012 at 11:08 PM. Reason: added quotes to expert
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:50 PM
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I'll leave the recommendation to Dgallow or Banc, but if the guy is pushing BOB seed (WI or others), he is either interested more in your wallet than your success or he simply doesn't have a clue.

Just to add some balance, both the manager and lime/fertilizer guy at my local coop are top notch, honest, and know what they are talking about. However, I have run into some workers at several coops that were just as qualified to work at Walmart. They could run the cash register and tell you where to find things...most of the time....and that is about all.
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:04 AM
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Google and contact either: the county extension agent, K-state soil lab, or the state plant board and ask about lime quarries and applicators/trucking. I vaugely remeber a website which lists this info. Somewhere near E KS will be a quarry, because that half of the state is commonly acidic soil. This time of year it may be hard to get on the list.

Good long lived afalfa does need 12-18 months of planning time and considering the cost of that crop, I would want high quality ag lime. If this is going to be harvested for hay, then in season lime may also be needed. Alfalfa is a Ca magnet!

I looked at a new alfalfa field today which was established last fall. Then I walked across the farm and saw where they had dumped lime on a pad and a small pile remained. This lime is what we call 'screenings' which is a fines byproduct of SB2 gravel production...it is about half powdered lime and half SB2 gravel (pea size). My first thought is 'I hope they applied enough'? Lower areas of that field were crusted and the stand poor...good lime would have helped but poor field drainage is the main issue. Kinda find the drainage ironic because the field was land planed several years back.

Screenings don't meet state plant board specifications and are about $6 per ton...ECCE might run 50% but normally have no rating. Total cost of screenings and good ag lime is about the same...buyer beware!
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https://www.noble.org/global/ag/wild.../cdversion.pdf
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