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A Practical Test
Determining Lime Requirement
Irrational Use Of Lime
Soil Acidity
The Litmus-paper Test
The Unproductive Farm
Where Clover Is Not Wanted


Crops And Methods For Soil Improvement

A Bit Of Arithmetic
A Clean Seed-bed
A Few Combinations Are Safest
A Southern Legume
A Three Years' Rotation
Acid Phosphate
Acquaintance With Terms
Adaptation To Eastern Needs
Affecting Physical Condition
All The Nitrogen From Clover
Alsike Clover
Amount Of Application
Amount Of Manure
Amount Per Acre
An Excess Of Nitrogen

Irrational Use Of Lime

Some refusal to accept the facts respecting
soil acidity and its means of correction is due to a prejudice that was
created by an unwise use of lime in the past. Owners of stiff limestone
soils learned in an early day that a heavy application of caustic lime
would increase crop production. It caused such flocculation of the fine
particles in their stiff soils that physical condition was improved,
and it made the organic matter in the soil quickly available as
plant-food. The immediate result was greater crop-producing power in
the soil, and dependence upon lime as a fertilizer resulted. The
vegetable matter was used up, some of the more available mineral
plant-food was changed into soluble forms, and in the course of years
partial soil exhaustion resulted. The heavy applications of lime,
unattended by additions of organic matter in the form of clover sods
and stable manure, produced a natural result, but one that was not
anticipated by the farmers. The prejudice against the use of lime on
land was based on the effects of this irrational practice.

There are land-owners who are not concerned with present-day knowledge
regarding soil acidity because they cannot believe that it has any
bearing upon the state of their soils. They know that clover sods were
easily produced on their land within their remembrance, and that their
soils are of limestone origin. As the clovers demand lime, these two
facts appear to them final. The failures of the clovers in the last ten
or twenty years they incline to attribute to adverse seasons, poor
seed, or the prevalence of weed pests. They do not realize that much
land passes out of the alkaline class into the acid one every year. The
loss of lime is continuous. Exhaustion of the supply capable of
combining with the harmful acids finally results, and with the
accumulation of acid comes partial clover failure, a deficiency in rich
organic matter, a limiting of all crop yields, and an inability to
remain in a state of profitable production.

Lime deficiency and its resulting ills would not exist as generally as
is now the case if the application of lime to land were not expensive
and disagreeable. These are deterrent features of wide influence. There
continues hope that the clover will grow successfully, as occasionally
occurs in a favorable season, despite the presence of some acid. The
limitation of yields of other staple crops is not attributed to the
lack of lime, and the proper soil amendment is not given to the land.

Next: Where Clover Is Not Wanted

Previous: Soil Acidity

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