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Old 04-21-2009, 05:40 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,766 times
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Well I got my soil samples back, and the results were kind of surprising. Most of the trace minerals were in the optimum range, but my acidic level was well below what I thought it would be...5.2 ph. They suggested lime application of course but at 5000-8800 pounds to the acre!

That leaves me in a serious situation. I cannot afford that much lime for the sixty acres of fields I need to improve. Alternatives exist of course, but here is the kicker. Years ago the paper mills used to give this lime slurry away to the farmers. It was free because they needed to get rid of it, and the farmers here really needed it. The NRCS specified how much and when the application rates would take place and the system worked extremely well.

Then the water treatment plants got involved. They needed to get rid of the1% sludge that they cannot process. This is pure human waste. Well many people do not want that, me included. After awhile they figured out that the farmers readily wanted the lime slurry, but not the sludge and that is what they needed to get rid of. So today they mix the two together so that if you have a acidic problem, you need to take both to cure the situation...at least cheaply.

I do not allow sludge on my land, so this leaves me with a serious problem. I can't simply treat my worst areas with sludge/lime slurry because it would be hypocritical of me to put sludge on my problem fields and yet deny the other farmers that use the other parts of my farm the use of cheap sludge.

Does anyone know of any economical alternatives to get the PH levels lower on some truly acidic soil?
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Not on the same page as most
2,503 posts, read 5,626,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
Well I got my soil samples back, and the results were kind of surprising. Most of the trace minerals were in the optimum range, but my acidic level was well below what I thought it would be...5.2 ph. They suggested lime application of course but at 5000-8800 pounds to the acre!

That leaves me in a serious situation. I cannot afford that much lime for the sixty acres of fields I need to improve. Alternatives exist of course, but here is the kicker. Years ago the paper mills used to give this lime slurry away to the farmers. It was free because they needed to get rid of it, and the farmers here really needed it. The NRCS specified how much and when the application rates would take place and the system worked extremely well.

Then the water treatment plants got involved. They needed to get rid of the1% sludge that they cannot process. This is pure human waste. Well many people do not want that, me included. After awhile they figured out that the farmers readily wanted the lime slurry, but not the sludge and that is what they needed to get rid of. So today they mix the two together so that if you have a acidic problem, you need to take both to cure the situation...at least cheaply.

I do not allow sludge on my land, so this leaves me with a serious problem. I can't simply treat my worst areas with sludge/lime slurry because it would be hypocritical of me to put sludge on my problem fields and yet deny the other farmers that use the other parts of my farm the use of cheap sludge.

Does anyone know of any economical alternatives to get the PH levels lower on some truly acidic soil?
Sorry that I don't know of a fix, but how about taking it slow, and bringing the PH up a little bit each year, to keep costs down. I think I heard it quoted that you need to apply lime at 100 lbs/acre to raise the PH .1. If you didn't notice until now that it was so out of whack, maybe you can live with the low PH while you raise it gradually. Good luck. We just had to spend $3,000 to lime/fertilize/seed only 30 acres. It's an expensive proposition and I would love to hear of any ideas to keep costs down.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:02 AM
 
4,259 posts, read 9,881,562 times
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You might want to reconsider the use of biosolids from lime stabilization. In the view of environmental regulators at least in our state (PA), the constituents in biosolids are far more tightly regulated than is out-of-the-expensive-bag fertilizer, and in their view as told to me, only a matter of time before some well known fertilizer company is seriously burned by some of the co-products of toxic processes that are now included in the supposedly virgin fertilizer. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don't.
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Old 04-21-2009, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
4,739 posts, read 7,614,989 times
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Wood ash is a good substitute but again it would only be economical if you have access to large quantities.
Recommended Practices for Using Wood Ash as an Agricultural Soil Amendment
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:57 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,681,328 times
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Tambre--------100/lbs per acre to raise the ph.1

Nope, it takes a ton per acre to raise the PH.1

by the way, alfalfa is recommended to be grown on soils at 6.7 PH.

It would take BrokenTap 15 tons per acre to get his PH high enough to grow alfalfa ( hopefully, he has no intention of growing alfalfa)
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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5.2 is not a low PH

5.2 is an extremely low PH .
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Not on the same page as most
2,503 posts, read 5,626,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
Tambre--------100/lbs per acre to raise the ph.1

Nope, it takes a ton per acre to raise the PH.1

by the way, alfalfa is recommended to be grown on soils at 6.7 PH.

It would take BrokenTap 15 tons per acre to get his PH high enough to grow alfalfa ( hopefully, he has no intention of growing alfalfa)
Thanks Marmac...not used to thinking in "tons", lol. Wow, 15 tons per acre...seems like it would look like it snowed (that is if lime is white...Marmac, could use your help here again).
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:14 PM
 
1,688 posts, read 7,046,063 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
5.2 is not a low PH

5.2 is an extremely low PH .

I just pulled out our soil analysis. This was not for crops, but for grass (grazing or hay) so I don't know if that's where the difference lies...

However, here a soil pH of 5.8 is deemed the critical level - i.e. the level at which point no additional nutrients are recommended. With soil pH values ranging from 5.3 to 5.1, our recommendation was .9 or 1.00 tons/acre using a 100ECCE liming product.

I can't help you on cost BT, sorry. We didn't lime in the end due to the cost. Just a few fields fertilized ran over $1600 and then the drought hit... I'd have gotten a better return on that investment in Vegas.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:19 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,681,328 times
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yes, lime is very expensive when the PH tests are low.

In our area,before someone rents cropland, they will soil test to determine if it is even worth the bother to rent it if the PH is too low.

Five Horses says--------" the level at which no additional nutrients are needed"
I think you are mis-using the word "nutrients"

A PH of 6.5 is roughly considered neutral ( or balanced) , however the PH only measures the acidity of the soil.

One can have a PH of 6.5 and still need--"nutrients" to grow a good crop cuz the phosphoros and potash levels could be quite low.

IMHO, if one has an acid soil ( low PH) one should concentrate on growing crops that can survive on a low PH soil rather than spend tons of money$$$$$$$$$ to try to raise an extremely low PH up to a level where other crops can be grown.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:02 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 7,046,063 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post

Five Horses says--------" the level at which no additional nutrients are needed"
I think you are mis-using the word "nutrients"
You'll have to debate that with our soil lab - their choice wording on our analysis.
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