Do not lime too soon after fertilization

19 April 2022

The liming of maize land has a positive effect on soil fertility. The chemical, physical and biological properties improve. If you are going to liming, it is important to make sure that the lime application is not given too close to the fertilization. 

The lime can react in the soil with the (acidic) manure, with the result that the effect of liming is less. Therefore you should allow at least four to six weeks between liming (first) and fertilizing (second). Otherwise it is a waste of lime. 

"There is a lot to be gained by liming," says researcher Karst Brolsma. "A too low pH on corn quickly costs 10-20% yield. The pH of many plots can still be repaired if lime is applied now. Our advice is to still give 2 tons of lime/ha to plots with a pH below 5 this spring. When this is worked in, after four weeks the pH is already largely back in order."

Maintenance lime

The pH on maize land usually drops much faster than on grassland. To keep the pH on sandy soil at a good level, you have to lime it regularly.  Brolsma: "This may be part of the reason why so many maize plots are too acidic according to the soil analyses.  Cattle farmers may often only notice it when there are new soil analyses, so that we have to repair it again after every four years. A maintenance liming is better for the soil than a repair. In fact, corn land on sandy soil needs a 1 to 1.5 ton maintenance liming almost every year to keep the pH up."

Lime and soil fertility

Lime provides a higher cation exchange capacity or CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity). The CEC is the most important indicator of soil fertility. With liming you increase the binding capacity of the soil to hold nutrients. In addition, research has shown that liming also makes a positive contribution to soil mineralization. More mineral soil nitrogen is released because a better soil structure means more oxygen in the soil and therefore more soil life activity. Very important for the mineralization of nitrogen and sulfur.

Fertilization Manager