P.O. BOX 406


   TELEPHONE (409) 336-9145 Extension  3

                                                       FAX (409) 336-7224


Board of Directors:

Burl Thomas, Chairman

Ford Flurry, Vice-Chairman

Don Maxwell, Secretary   

Jimmy Rollins, Member

J. C. Ladd, Member


Important Facts to Know About Agricultural Lime

May 2004


Agricultural limestone (usually called ag lime) has been used for years on pastures and hayfields to help correct acid soil conditions.  Many soils in Liberty County and Southeast Texas are acidic.  This is an inherent chemical property of the soil.


Importance of Liming and Your Fertility Program


Lime is not the same as fertilizer.  Lime is applied to correct acid conditions in the soil, so fertilizer (nutrients) can be utilized to their full potential by plants.  The availability of many nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are reduced as acidity of the soil decreases.  In order to maximize the benefits of a fertilizer application, lime should be applied to soils when the pH falls below an optimum range.


What is an Acid Soil?


A pH value indicates whether a soil is acidic, basic, or neutral.  Neutral (neither acid or basic) has a pH value of 7.0.  A basic soil has a pH above 7.0.  Anything under 7.0 is considered acidic.


Bahiagrass and bermudagrass can tolerate pH levels of 5.5 to 7.0.  In other words, a little on the acidic side is okay for these grasses.  However, other plants like clovers and many vegetables are much more sensitive to acid conditions and require a pH closer to 7.0 for optimum growing conditions.


It is not uncommon for our soils to have a pH of less than 5.5.  Depending on soil texture, the kind of plant, and how low the pH is, a soil test will recommend the necessary amount of lime needed.  Usually 1 to 2 tons of lime per acre is needed to raise the pH to an acceptable level.

Not All AG Lime is Equal


The quality of ag lime varies greatly.  This variability of lime quality makes the determination of lime rates difficult.  The solution to this problem is to make rate recommendations in terms of a rating system known as Effective Carbonate Equivalent (ECCE). 


Pure calcium carbonate is used as the standard for expressing lime quality and is given a value of 100%.  ECCE combines the materials fineness efficiency and neutralizing value.  The finer the material the more effective it is in neutralizing an acid condition.


Ag lime available in Texas may have an ECCE value ranging from 50% to 100%.  The composition of these lime products are very similar; the major difference is the size of the particle.  The 100% ECCE product is almost like a powder, versus the 50% ECCE product which has some powder mixed in with coarser grain-like particles.  These coarser particles are not effective in neutralizing soil acidity.


Thus, it becomes very important to know the ECCE value of the ag lime you are using, and apply the appropriate amounts.





A soil test recommends applying 1 ton of ECCE lime per acre.  You have 2 lime products available to you: (costs are estimated)


1.  100% ECCE lime at $35 per ton per acre applied on the field

2.      60% ECCE lime at $25 per ton per acre applied on the field


Figure the amount of 60% ECCE needed to equal 1 ton of 100% ECCE per acre, and compare the costs.

                                    (1/60) x 100 = 1.67 tons per acre


You need to use 1.67 tons per acre of the 60% ECCE lime to get

                                    Same effect as 1 ton of the 100% ECCE lime.


                                    1.67tons x $25 tons/acre = 41.75/acre


Conclusion-  It costs $35/acre of the 100% ECCE product versus $41.75/acre of the 60% product to get the same neutralizing effect.


**Knowing the ECCE value of lime products helps make sure you get the most value for your dollar.**





There are some drawbacks to using the 100% ECCE lime.  Application is not as easy as the coarser product, and the wind should be calm to assure even spreading.  When this material gets wet, it has a consistency similar to mud, which renders it unusable until it dries.


As a side benefit, most ag lime used in Liberty County contains magnesium carbonate (dolomitic limestone), in addition to calcium carbonate.  This provides an added source of magnesium to the soil.  It usually takes about one year before the magnesium in limestone can become available to the plant.   
















Programs and services of the Lower Trinity Soil and Water Conservation District and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis without regards for race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, marital status or disability.



Sources of ag Lime for Liberty County- May 2004


C & C Soil Service (Tarkington Prairie)

(281)592-0927    (281)593-9379    (281)432-9922

Handles bulk lime.  Will deliver and apply in your field.


Cain, Richard (Hardin, TX)                                                                                              

           (936) 289-9335                                                                                               

           Lime must be delivered to your field in bulk, then is applied with a front-end loader and lime distributor. 


Ericson, Steve (Raywood, TX)                                                                                     

           (936) 587-4015                                                                                               

           Lime must be delivered to your field in bulk, then is applied with a front-end loader and lime distributor.


Majestic Trucking                                                                                                             


           Will deliver limestone to Liberty County from Georgetown.  A truckload is approximately 25 tons.


McGallion, Chris (Silsbee, TX)                                                                                       

           (409) 385-2528 day                  (409) 386-0128 night                                              

           Have spreader trucks to apply lime on your fields.


Texas Crushed Stone (Georgetown, TX)                                                                     

          (512) 863-5511                                                                                                     

          Limestone quarry:  Superfine lime (100% ECCE) or  Premium lime (62% ECCE)


Transit Mix (Beaumont, TX)                                                                                              


         Can deliver ag lime to their yard in Hardin and load in your truck, or deliver to your field with their truck.




(This information is provided as a public service and constitutes no endorsement by the Lower Trinity SWCD or the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.)