A comparison of lime requirements by five methods on grassland mineral soils in Ireland

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Tunney, H., Sikora, F. J., Kissel, D., Wolf, A., Sonon, L. and Goulding, K. W. T. 2010. A comparison of lime requirements by five methods on grassland mineral soils in Ireland. Soil Use and Management. 26 (2), pp. 126-132. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2010.00263.x

AuthorsTunney, H., Sikora, F. J., Kissel, D., Wolf, A., Sonon, L. and Goulding, K. W. T.

Liming is necessary for good nutrient availability and crop growth. Lime use in Ireland is now the lowest in half a century. A recent study shows that grassland mineral soils in Ireland has a mean pH of 5.4 and mean lime requirement (LR) of 9.3 t/ha ground limestone. There have been a number of studies in the USA to re-evaluate LR, but little activity in the European Union (EU) in recent years. The primary aim of our research was to compare five methods for estimating LR, which included the Shoemaker-McLean-Pratt (SMP) buffer method currently used in Ireland (IRL), the Sikora buffer method used at the University of Kentucky (UKY), Ca(OH)(2) titration used at University of Georgia (UGA), the modified Mehlich buffer method used at Penn State University (PSU) and the UK RothLime model, using 57 representative grassland mineral soils from Ireland with a pH range from 4.8 to 6.6. The secondary aim was to explore an alternative to the SMP buffer that does not involve the use of toxic chemicals. The results show good agreement between the pH measured by the Irish and three US laboratories and reasonably good agreement in LR estimated by five methods. The main conclusions are: (1) a significant proportion of grassland on mineral soils in Ireland would benefit from liming to increase soil pH, (2) on average, LRs as recommended in Ireland are higher than those advised elsewhere, (3) the target pH in Ireland is high compared with that in other countries and should be reduced from pH 6.5 to 6.2, (4) the SMP buffer method should be replaced by a suitable alternative and, in principle, any of the four methods studied would be suitable, (5) to find the most suitable alternative for accurate LR advice it would be necessary to compare the different methods to the actual LR from incubation of representative soils with calcium hydroxide.

KeywordsSoil Science
Year of Publication2010
JournalSoil Use and Management
Journal citation26 (2), pp. 126-132
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2010.00263.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeSEF
Maintaining soil resilience and function for sustainable land management
The 'Classical' experiments: Broadbalk and Park Grass [2001-2012]
British Society of Soil Science (BSSS)

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