Experiments measuring calcium losses in drainage water and the rate of acidification of soil are described. Problems of remedying acidity, especially in subsoils, and the need for ‘field factors’ to adjust lime dressings are discussed.
Beneficial effects of liming on crop yields, measured in recent experiments, are given. Also some effects on soil physical properties, micronutrient availability, the effectiveness of biologically active chemicals, and some soil-inhabiting plant pathogens are mentioned.
Two recent methods of predicting calcium losses from soil are compared.
The current problem of getting reliable information on lime use, now that subsidy payments are no longer made for lime applications, to relate to estimates of calcium losses from soil is discussed in detail. The usefulness of survey data to determine lime use on a national scale, which can be related to overall changes in soil pH, has yet to be tested over a period of time. However soil pH can be determined so easily and a liming recommendation made so quickly, on the basis of a laboratory determination, that no farmer should suffer loss of yield due to soil acidity.