Agricultural lime is produced from naturally occurring Calcium Carbonate CaCo3), some deposits of Calcium Carbonate contain higher concentrations of Magnesium and are referred to as Magnesium Limestone (MgCo3).
Agricultural Lime and ‘AgLime’ are both names commonly miss-applied to these naturally occurring Calcium deposits. Calcium is amongst the six of the most essential plant nutrients; it is essential for cell wall construction providing plant strength and supporting plant health and growth functions.
When used in environmental and agricultural situations Agricultural Lime performs two roles, Calcium is the essential plant nutrient, but it is the chemical bases of Calcium – Oxide, Carbonate, Hydroxide and Silicate that reduce and stabilise the soil acidity equilibrium (pH). A healthy and sustainable soil environment is a fundamental aspect of soil husbandry, globally recognised as playing a major role in overall business profitability and environmental diversification.
The application of Agricultural Lime has steadily declined during the last forty years, sadly being eclipsed by new agricultural technologies which have drowned out a lot of yesterday’s knowledge and practice. The use and application of agricultural lime is not featured in any agricultural fertiliser statistics, but it is estimated usage has slipped from 7.5kt in the 1960’s to circa 1.8kt in 2018. The effects of this decline are now being clearly evidenced in soil surveys and the Agricultural Lime Association are highlighting this as a serious concern with the introduction of the Governments post-Brexit Environmental Land Management agricultural financial support mechanism.
The seventeen Agricultural Lime Association (ALA) companies promote the responsible maintenance of the correct soil pH for the situation using regulatory and quality compliant products. With the decline in use and market volumes, both interest and quality of agricultural lime waned. To highlight the considerable benefits and substantial return on capital investment agricultural lime produces the Agricultural Lime Association developed the UK’s only specialist fertiliser quality standard for agricultural lime. The AgLime Quality Standard (AQS) provides detailed reports to support greater product knowledge and understanding through independent chemical and granulometric analysis to confirm both UK and-or EU fertiliser regulatory compliance. Producers achieving the standard are awarded a 12-month certification after which fresh analysis is required. Producers achieving the standard are identified with the AQS Approved Logo.
With broad industry experience and knowledge ALA members represent the UK industry with both Government agencies, CEN, BSI and IMA and recently secured influential appointments to two Government bodies in addition to sitting on the BASIS agricultural advisors training and accreditation body.
Communicating knowledge and information is key to ALA’s work, with both their website and recently introduced app both featuring the ALA AgLime Calculator users have access to advice covering all soil situations.
The Agricultural Lime Association is a constituent body of the Mineral Products Association Ltd.
For more information on agricultural lime, please contact Stephen Hill or visit the ALA website.
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries.