Soil Acidity and Liming

Soil pH impacts almost all facets of crop production. Soil acidity, soil pH < 5.5, in particular has negative consequences on forage production, grain yield, herbicide effectiveness, and nutrient use. The cost to correct soil acidity, however, can be quite high, commonly $25 to $60 per acre. This upfront cost is often a stumbling block for those who want to correct soil acidity but do not own the land. What many may not realize is that lime is a long term investment; one lime application will positively impact production for four to eight years. Because of this, many fields, which are under short term leases, have gone neglected in terms of soil pH. However, as other input costs such as herbicide and fertilizer costs rise, liming becomes more and more economically viable. The biggest benefits of liming are improved yields and increased revenue.

Oklahoma Soil Acidity and Liming Facts

  • There are tolerant varieties of winter wheat and canola, but not the other crops.
  • Legumes are more sensitive to soil acidity than cereal grains.
  • Lime needs moisture to activate and results are not immediate.
  • Liming is effective in no-till systems.
  • SU (Finesse, Glean, Maverick, Osprey) and Atrazine herbicides degrade much faster in low pH.(PDF)
  • Availability of all nutrients, except Iron, is reduced in acidic soil. (PDF)
  • Soil acidity negatively impacts plant stand and delays maturity in many crops.

Why lime from a land-owner’s point of view?

  • Improving soil pH will improve effectiveness of herbicides and fertilizers.
  • Liming is a long term investment into the property.
  • Maintain soil and crop quality.

Click on the following links to view PDF files.


Cause and Effects of Soil Acidity
Managing Acid Soils for Wheat Production
Liming Raises Soil pH and Increases Winter Wheat Forage Yields
Liming Acid Soils – What You Should and Should Not Expect

Soil Fertility-Acidity:

Soil Acidity impact on Nutrients
Effect of soil pH on herbicide persistence
Herbicide Considerations in a Wheat Rotation
Understanding your soil test report
Procedures Used by OSU Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory
Soil Test Interpretations
How to Get a Good Soil Sample
Soil Fertility Handbook

Soil acidity tests  – Looking at the impact of low pH on Sorghum and Sunflower.