Lime, No-Till, CEC, & Buffer Capacity

SD51555

5 year old buck +
The idea struck me tonight that I can lime my new no till plot area for next year after I'm done rifle hunting next week. It got me to thinking about how quickly the lime will take effect and whether I may need to lime again next year at some point. I came across a decent article from the K State extension service. I can't say I completely understand my situation because my soil sample didn't have a CEC rating. But based on the high buffer capacity I have, I'll go light and maybe test in the spring when I plant.

I know for sure I'm gonna put on 50lbs of N/acre to start, another 50 at 6-8 weeks, and pell lime at a half ton/acre this fall. I just realized that my sulfur levels are low. I haven't even considered how much sulfate I put on this summer, but perhaps AMS was a good choice for that as well.

Here's the article: http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/story/applying_lime020613.aspx

Here's my soil sample
soil sample.png
 

wiscwhip

5 year old buck +
I agree with MOBuck, unless you are plotting on sand. This is all the more reason to get the lime down as soon as possible! You will see some benefit to "frost-liming", it will help to a small extent to have the frost heaving action to help pull that lime into the soil profile, in much the same way as it does with seeds.
 
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dipper

Guest
Soil type is very important when doing a soil test. Remember that for next time. That is also why your Cec isnt estimated. I'm assuming your soil is find textured either A heavy loam or clay texture. Than its cec will be high.
Are you trying to establish alfalfa next spring with a cover of oats? alfalfa is one of the plants that demands more alkaline soil, with that low of a ph you are playing roulette. I would go with clover, than alfalfa once your ph is reasonable.
I wouldn't be spreading n on establishing alfalfa either, but what do I know.
 

wiscwhip

5 year old buck +
I would agree with dipper on his points as well. Are you actually considering planting alfalfa, or did you just use it to get maximum inputs for your soil test? I do know a few farmers I have worked for that put alfalfa at high yields on there soil test samples to get the maximum inputs need on there soil, even though they are planting something else, just because alfalfa is such a high user of nutrients. If you amend for alfalfa, just about anything else you grow will thrive. It may seem silly to put down inputs that your present crop doesn't need, but who was I to argue? It wasn't my money, their soils were healthy as all get out and they got maximum yields from everything else they ever grew in those fields. Alfalfa usually needs a ph above 6.7 to establish and thrive. Low ph will affect your germination and survival of seedling alfalfa. Baby alfalfa plants can burn very easily with even small excesses of N at the seedling stages, a bit of extra P and K would be fine at establishment though. One thing everyone should always keep in the back of their minds is that almost every form of N fertilizer WILL lower your ph to some degree. Some types just lower it way faster and farther than other types of nitrogen fertilizers. You could get lucky, but my guess is that your germination of alfalfa at a ph of 5.6 will suffer and the established stand of alfalfa that you are left with will disappoint you and cost you a lot of money. Another thing with alfalfa is that most types do not reseed well and most types do not spread through rhizomes or stolon's like red and white clover. Thus, you will never have more plants than what initially germinated. There are some varieties that will do these things, but they may have other pest issues or you would have to leave that field in alfalfa for 4 or more years to see those benefits, as most of those are grazing type alfalfas that are intended to be in long term range pastures. Medium red clover is just as useful as alfalfa, costs much less to establish and some of the newer improved varieties will last 3-4 years now with proper maintenance. Don't get me wrong on this, because I do feel in the right situation that alfalfa is the ultimate food for growing healthy deer, it just isn't for every situation.
 
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SD51555

5 year old buck +
No alfalfa. I'm not sure what my quack was thinking when he put that on there. I told him radishes and he didn't have recommendations for that. So he went with something. I'm still uncertain what I'm going to plant next year. Leaning towards cowpea/brassica/rye or pumpkin. Lots up in the air yet. I'm just striving for proper pH first. Seems like the rest is close except nitrogen. I'm hoping with 1/2 ton/ac pell lime per year we'll get it dialed in over time. It seemed like our radishes did well to start but when they got below a certain point they just hit a wall. I'll get some updated pics towards the end of the rifle hunt in a few days. I'll keep testing each year to make sure I don't go overboard.
 

wiscwhip

5 year old buck +
Given your amendment recommendations are for alfalfa, that sulfur requirement is most likely far above what you would need for most other plantings. Alfalfa is a high S user and the amount would reflect that, you won't need near as much for the other plantings you listed. I would suggest to get that ph up as soon as possible. With a ph in the mid 5's, if you can afford more than a 1/2 ton/ac each year I would put any extra funds I had into lime. If you put down 2 tons per acre right away, you could possibly go 2 or more years without spending anything on lime and your plots will be better in a far shorter time span, instead of limping along for 3 or more years with plots that may be mediocre at best due to not having as efficient nutrient uptake due to low ph.
 
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