News Feed Forums Soil Health Liming effects on soil microbiology Reply To: Liming effects on soil microbiology

  • John Kempf

    December 30, 2022 at 7:17 am

    I have been thinking about how to respond to this discussion. I am hesitant to subscribe to the idea that applications larger than 100 lb/ac invariably have a negative effect on soil microbiology.

    I have never seen the data cited to support this. While I am sure it exists somewhere, and I look forward to seeing it, my question is going to be about time frame.

    It is entirely reasonable to expect that an application of 500 lb/ac of elemental sulfur, or 4000 lb/ac of calcium carbonate is going to have an immediate and dramatic effect on soil biology in the short term. I would expect large impacts in the first few days, weeks, and possibly months in a low rainfall environment.

    But what happens after that?

    These pH correction/ mineral balancing amendments are ever only applied to soils in these amounts when there is a serious need.

    All of my experience in observing crop responses, soil aggregation responses, and ‘weed’ responses indicates that these large applications of soil amendments can have an overwhelmingly positive response in resetting soil chemistry imbalances and creating an environment where soil biology flourishes, and develops much higher population levels than when the imbalance existed.

    I would suggest it is not enough to measure the microbial response only in the immediate short term after an application, but we need to measure the impact in the longer term as well.

    In short, I think the large applications are worth it. I am happy to be proven wrong, but based on data, not a hypothesis.