The Use of Calcitic Lime in Agriculture
Successful farming and plant growth begins with the soil. If your soil does not contain all of the nutrients a plant requires, your crop yield will not be as fortunate as you might have hoped. Specific plants all have specific needs and while one crop might flourish with acidic soil, another might not. It is therefore very important to determine what your crop's needs are, test the soil to determine what it requires, and add certain nutrients to create the perfect balance for your crop.
In this article, we will discuss calcitic lime. We will also include information on how it is used, when to use it, and what its benefits could be for your crop.
Calcitic lime is mainly made up of calcium carbonate and is typically used as a treatment on acidic soil. Soil will often turn acidic when there is a surplus of nitrogen-heavy fertilisers being used. The calcitic lime will counteract this acidification while retaining the benefits of the nitrogen-heavy fertiliser. When making use of calcitic lime it is important to either wait for rain or wet the soil as water is the catalyst for this chemical reaction.
Calcitic lime can be used in various situations to improve soil health, fertility, and ultimately, the crop’s yield.
- Field Crops: Certain field crops such as soybeans, wheat, and corn grow better in neutralised soil, and calcitic lime is therefore often used on the soil in preparation for planting these crops.
- Horticulture: Nurseries and greenhouses are known to make use of calcitic lime to give seedlings the best chance of flourishing into healthy plants. This is due to the fact that acidic soil negatively impacts root growth.
- Pastures: The successful farming of cattle, sheep, or other grazing animals heavily depends upon the health of pastures. Without lush pastures, these herd animals will not have enough food to feed on. They will therefore require higher levels of supplementation feed which is more expensive for farmers. Calcitic lime is therefore often used in pastures to increase the health of these grazing fields.
- Orchards: There are many orchards that make use of calcitic lime to improve crop yield and fruit production. Some of these can include apple, peach, and other tropical fruit orchards.
While we know that the use of calcitic lime improves soil health, fertility, and crop yield; the question remains, how does it do this? The benefits and the way it provides these benefits include:
- Soil Neutralisation: As calcitic lime works against acidity within the soil, it ultimately helps to neutralise the soil and raise the pH level. This will ultimately improve the structure of the soil. This is important, as bad soil structure will have low water retention and a lack of nutrient availability to the plant.
- Plant Nutrition: Calcium is very good for plant growth as it strengthens the plant walls and encourages root growth. As calcitic lime has a high calcium content it is favoured by farmers to strengthen their crops.
- Crop Yield: Calcitic lime improves the overall health of your plant and thereby one’s crop yield. However, it is also effective in preventing and controlling plant diseases that would ordinarily cause the loss of a once-healthy crop.
- Soil Microorganisms: As calcitic lime improves soil fertility, it also makes the soil habitable for soil microorganisms. These microorganisms play a vital role in improving soil health and plant nutrition and it is, therefore, important to cultivate an environment in which they can grow.
World Focus Agri provides support for farmers in South Africa by selling the best products with which to cultivate your soil and crops. One of their products does include calcitic lime which can be easily purchased by contacting them directly. They also document and research the effects of their products on farms so that you may understand exactly how their products work.
Visit the AgrifoodSA directory to find out more about how World Focus Agri and its products such as calcitic lime can benefit your farming efforts.