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Residual N Lowers pH

February 15, 2013
By: Davis Michaelsen, Pro Farmer Inputs Monitor Editor

Areas of Ohio and Indiana have enjoyed recent precipitation events that have gone a long way to pull those areas of the cornbelt out of drought. But much of the western cornbelt is still dangerously dry. Given that, many soils will not have had adequate moisture to flush available N, leaving it in the soil where it may depress your soil's pH.

Optimal pH for both corn and beans rests right around 6.5. If soil pH falls below 4.0, the soil becomes more acidic and may require liming. This is vital as pH affects the availability of essential nutrients in the soil, soil microbial activity and the general effectiveness and carryover of certain herbicides.

Liming is not something one should expect to do every year. In fact, an incorporated application of a good aglime will usually service your soil for several years. To ensure both short and long term release, choose a lime with a range of particle sizes. Smaller particles will help give the lime an immediate foothold in the soil while larger chunks in the lime will work more slowly over time.

Test your soil to know if your pH balance is where it needs to be. It has been shown that targeted distribution of lime can help save on expenses. Residual N may have your pH out of whack as a result of last summer's dryness. Incorporated aglime will help boost falling pH, and keep your soil at optimal productivity for years to come.


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