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Applying agricultural lime is the most economical way of ameliorating low soil pH in broadscale agriculture in Western Australia (WA). In WA, agricultural lime is usually limesand from coastal sand dunes, crushed limestone from coastal deposits or crushed dolomitic lime (usually marketed as dolomite) from old lake and inland drainage systems. Other sources are Cretaceous chalk and lake bed marls.
WA agriculture is well serviced by lime suppliers, although the quality of lime varies markedly around the State, and cost does not always reflect quality as measured by neutralising value and fineness. Neutralising value and particle size distribution (fineness) are significant factors of lime quality which govern the amount and rate of pH change in the soil over the short term (six months to a few years).
Both suppliers and purchasers of agricultural lime need to have a good knowledge of the product. Liming-rate recommendations to farmers usually assume high neutralising value lime. Farmers need to know the neutralising value of the lime they are using in order to accurately calculate the appropriate application rate and avoid under-liming. The cost of lime should be considered in terms of the cost per tonne (t) of neutralising value (delivered and spread).
Number of Pages
Sand dunes, Sampling, Lime, Laboratory tests, Western Australia
Agriculture | Soil Science
Gazey, C. (2013), Audit of WA agricultural lime quality 2013. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth. Bulletin 4852.
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