Caragh Fitzgerald, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator in Kennebec County, has assembled a list of bulk lime sources and custom lime spreaders for farmers and agricultural landowners in Maine.

This list is available online at extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/lime or by calling 800-287-1481 (toll-free in Maine).

Because most Maine soils are acidic, with a telltale low pH, agricultural lime is an important soil amendment. Soils that are too acidic affect the efficiency or availability of fertilizers, effectively locking up soil nutrients even when present in the soil. Using the correct amount of agricultural limestone to increase soil pH improves the growing environment for plants, including hay, pasture forages and vegetable crops.

Farmers learn how much limestone to add to each field by having soil samples analyzed. Once the soil test results are received, farmers make arrangements for limestone spreading. It can take up to six months for the limestone to have an effect on soil pH, said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald also said that soil testing is the most important step in knowing if, and how much, lime is needed to raise the pH to certain levels for specific crops in each field. Soil test boxes and forms are available from county UMaine Extension offices, extension.umaine.edu/county-offices or 581-3188. Testing is performed at the Maine Soil Testing Service at the University of Maine, umaine.edu/soiltestinglab, 581-3591.


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