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Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

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Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby buckcrazy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:38 pm

I just got the soil samples i sent off to biologic back this afternoon. I was looking them over and couldnt believe how many pounds of fertilizer they suggested. If i am reading this correct it is calling for over 7,000 lbs per acre!!!! :shock: :shock:
I have never had a soil test done before and not really sure what to make of it. This is the field that I took the samples from:
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Looking at the field and watching it the whole year I thought that it was pretty good but after reading over these reports I'm not sure what to make out of the report I got back. I feel like a total idiot, I almost wish I wouldn't have done one now :roll: Am I not reading something right ? I calculated my fields dimensions and came up with 3.35 acres. If the 7,000 lbs of lime is correct I need 23,450 lbs of lime for the plot. I don't even know where to begin :bash: Can someone take a look at the reports and maybe give me some insight on the reports?
In this report I stated I wanted to grow the gamekeeper mix from EAGLE SEEDS.This is the report.
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These are from the same plot but I stated I wanted to get the recommendations for winter crops( Wheat,Oats,Clover) in the report below and the ones. Same dirt, different results for different crops. I just wanted to see the difference.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby reesguide » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:00 pm

Is this from MSU????
Wouldnt surprise me if mine came back at more than 3 tons to the acre.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby Yellow Lab » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:12 pm

A 5.3 ph on a new plot sounds about right to me.

If this were my plot, I would start with 4000 lbs / 2 tons per acre now. Take another soil sample this time next year and see how much your ph has improved. If more lime is needed, put out a second application next year. This method will not bust your budget in one year.

Remember "Rome was not built in a day". It is going to take a couple of years to get your new plot and soil like you want it.

IMO, I like the MSU soil sample report better.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby saddaddykiller » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:14 pm

have u had that area logged and they tore up that plot with all the equipment?
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby buckcrazy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:47 pm

Reesguide, no the test was done by Biologic. I am also sending one to MSU but have to wait until I receive the soil kit as they won't take them in a ziploc bag like Biologic did.

Yellow lab, I'm sending one to MSU too because I want to see if there is any difference between what they say and Biologic says. I was surprised to say the least when I saw over 3 1/2 tons per acre. My biggest obstacle now is getting the lime to the plot. It's one of two food plots we have that are across the creek. I'm not sure that I can get a lime truck over there. I'm going to have to make some calls. I was thinking that it would be best to do a smaller amount(maybe half of what they recommend) and recheck in a year just to make sure everything is on track before dumping over 10 tons of lime.
I have never soil tested before and don't even know where to begin. I usually just put "x" amount of lime and fertilizer out each year without knowing. I just want to try doing it the right way now. I don't even know what to ask for at the seed store or co-op. Guess I will find out what to use for all the P's, K's,Ca's and Mg's. Man, food plotting just got real complicated for me big time.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby buckcrazy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:56 pm

Oh forgot Saddaddy , yeah the plot is a newly opened up plot. The plot was about 1/3 of an acre before this past season. We had a dozer come in august and took approximately 200 trees off of the area. Don't know if you can see but he stacked up two huge piles of trees that he pulled up with the excavator. After dozing the plot it was then leveled as flat as he said he could get it. There were a ton of roots and other stumps that were cut and the whole plot will be cleaned up this off season. Didn't have time to clean it real good before planting because a bunch of things happened at that time and I wasn't able to get over there to do what I wanted. If I gotta walk and cut all the trash out of the plot so be it. Getting ready to buy a rake for the tractor so that might help some.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby FireCloud » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:07 pm

I don't see anything unusual about your soil test. Woods plots previously covered with trees for decades become more and more acid due to the decomposition of leaves over time. The soil becomes "unbalanced" and lack some minerals that are needed fo good crop growth simply because nature is not putting some of them into the soil and the trees or other vegatation that have grown there used up a lot of what was available. The end result is "poor soil" lacking in the right organic content, minerals, and proper PH to grow crops optimally. But all of it is correctable and it is not all that hard to do. It does take some time however to get your soil the way you want it. Don't expect to achieve optimal soil composition in one year with one application of chemicals. Think of it as a three year project.

The lime is a remedy for low PH, acid soils. Applying ENOUGH lime raises the soil ph and "sweetens" the soil. Most crops (but not all) need a ph in the 6.0 to 6.5 range for best growth. What is shocking to you is the fact that it takes a large quantity of lime to treat an acre of dirt. Needing 2 tons or more per acres is NOT abnormal. In fact, you would be pretty lucky to not need that much lime for a previously wooded, newly cleared plot.

The part that confuses you is that you do not realize how much volume of dirt is in the "growing layer" of soil when spread over an entire acre. The cubic feet of soil in just the top six inches of dirt for a full acre is 21,780 Cubic Feet. That is a very LARGE amount of dirt. When you mix in additives like lime, it takes a large amount of cubic feet of lime to really make any significant difference when mixed in with this quantity of dirt. Lime is not sold by the cubic foot, but by the ton, but even a couple tons of lime is really, once spread out and mixed in, not that much cubic footage of volume as compared to the amount of dirt.

Lime, which is finely ground stone, does not readily dissolve or mix in with the soil quickly. Ideally, you should apply lime at least six months before planting as it takes a good while for the lime to begin to make any difference. Trust your soil sample and follow the recommendations. It really will not cost all that much to lime your entire plot. Agricultural lime is pretty cheap, especially as compared to bagged pelletized lime. Pelletized lime can be bought at any co-op and is sold in 40 pound bags. It takes 50 bags to equal one ton. So to apply two tons of pelletized lime per acre, you would need to haul in 100 bags per acre (330 bags total for your entire plot) and use a distributor on a tractor or ATV to broadcast it. At today's prices, you would likely spend over $1,000 if you are forced to use pelletized lime. You should be able to hire someone to deliver and spread from a truck the agricultural lime you need for under half that price.

You would be surprised where the spreader trucks can go if they have dry enough soil. They are however very big and very heavy. You might consider getting the dozer guy to cut you a service road leading to your plot so that you can get equipment in and out easily year after year.

I fully agree it is best to add slowly and retest. As Yellow Lab said, start with 2 tons per acre and retest next year. Too much PH is not any better than too little. You also might try growing some green manure cover crops and tilling them under to help amend your soil without being so dependant on chemicals alone. Those will not replace lime, but they can help reduce your fertilizer needs. I think you will be very happy with your food plot area once you get your soil in better shape. It really looks very nice.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby FireCloud » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:24 pm

PS> Forgot to say you are doing your math wrong. If you are using the first report, it recommends 5,000 pounds (which is 2.5 tons) of lime per acre in Table 1. If you are using the second report (because you want to grow certain specific crops that need a little different conditions) the recommended rate for lime from that report in Table 1 is 5,500 pounds per acre. I don't see anything on these reports saying you need 7,000 pounds per acre.

So, if you intend to follow the recommendations in the first report, for example, you simply multiply the 5,000 pound application rate by the total acreage (3.35 acres) which gives you an answer of 16,750 pounds of lime needed for your entire plot. Converting that to tons, you will need to purchase and apply 8.375 tons of lime spread evenly over your entire plot. If you want to follow the recommendations in the second table, you will need exactly 10% more lime.

Be sure that you also are "doing the math" correctly on calculating your actual acreage. If you are mistaken about the size of your plot, all your calculations will be wrong. There are a number of ways to produce a reliable estimate of the actual acreage. Not sure how you went about "measuring" your plot but you may want to run your calculations by someone skilled in calculating acreage, such as a certified land appraiser (like me!), a surveyor, engineer, tax assessor, timber cruiser, etc.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby buckcrazy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:47 pm

Thanks Firecloud and others for helping me understand it alot better. I guess I was just not expecting it to be that much lime but having never had a plot as big as this one and never getting a soil sample done I really didn't know what to expect. I was thinking it would probably be a three year deal after going over the analysis but like most folks wanted to throw out the lime and have it perfect. I suppose after seeing how good this field came up under the conditions I was just expecting it to cone out alot better. I stuck one of those pH meters in the ground two weeks before planting and it showed that the pH was 6.5 which according to the analysis would be ideal. I was not to impressed with that pH meter but figured it was all that I had and wanted to believe that it was right.
The good thing is now that I know what needs to be done I can work on it getting it right.The more info I get about food plots the more I realize I didn't know jack about them before. I use to just go out the first weekend in sept and throw out seed and fertilizer and wait. I never dreamed that it would turn into year round work, but enjoyable work.

After getting the proper levels what differences have you noticed in your fields?
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby saddaddykiller » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:15 pm

buckcrazy wrote:Oh forgot Saddaddy , yeah the plot is a newly opened up plot. The plot was about 1/3 of an acre before this past season. We had a dozer come in august and took approximately 200 trees off of the area. Don't know if you can see but he stacked up two huge piles of trees that he pulled up with the excavator. After dozing the plot it was then leveled as flat as he said he could get it. There were a ton of roots and other stumps that were cut and the whole plot will be cleaned up this off season. Didn't have time to clean it real good before planting because a bunch of things happened at that time and I wasn't able to get over there to do what I wanted. If I gotta walk and cut all the trash out of the plot so be it. Getting ready to buy a rake for the tractor so that might help some.



ohhhhhh ok its a new plot..... we have never done any soil testing.....i think all we do is every 5 years or every 10 years we put out 1 or 2 tons per acre.......if i was you i would cut down them other trees...leaves are bad for soil, they suck up nutrients and water from the crops, and they just make it harder to do the plot because of the roots and stuff
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby FireCloud » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:30 pm

I am where you are with my land. This year I enlarged a small patch by clearing woods. I will be expanding this first one to about 1 acre total and doing the same thing with at least two more one acre or so plots. I have the same problem you have getting equipment in to two of the woodland locations but one open area plot has easy access. I intend to do the open plot this spring and work on the other two woodland plots as time and money permit. This year the best I could do was some pelletized lime on the one new woodland plot. Going to have to cut some service road access and build a bridge or two to get equipment in easily.

I have a thread posted somewhere that gives a pictorial history of my first woodland plot. Like you, my efforts were minimal this past season but for what I did, it worked out better than I expected. I do organic gardening however so I am well aware of what it takes to develop good soil. In my garden, by carefully working to improve my soil, I have transformed what was originally poor soil into some better than average soil in just three years. For growing any crops, including wildlife food plots, you simply have to determine what you have to start with, what your soil needs, and start working on providing the nutrients and soil characteristics your crops must have to grow well.

And it is on ongoing process. When plants grow, they absorb nutrients. Thus your soil is (ordinarily) constantly loosing nutrients when you grow crops on it. You have to resupply the nutrients via organic or commercial fertilizers. I much prefer the organic methods but that takes a little longer so most food plot growers just use chemicals to do the trick. Both work, but the organic works better!!

The difference between the growth a plant achieves when grown in good soil with the nutrients it needs is dramatically greater than if the same plant is grown under the same weather conditions but in poor soil lacking the nutrients. It is absolutely amazing how much difference occurs. You will see once you get your soil in good shape. I've got mustard greens growing in my garden today and they are strong enough to survive this ice and cold. If you give plants what they need to develop good root systems and grow strong and vigorous, they will be able to handle far more weather conditions than you believe. The whole key is in the soil and in the control of moisture.
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Re: Got my soil samples back from Biologic and Confused

Postby saddaddykiller » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:30 pm

PELLETIZED LIME - HOW QUICKLY DOES IT REACT
Lloyd W. Murdock, Extension Soils Specialist

Pelletized lime is made by granulating finely ground agricultural (ag) lime. It may be dolomitic or calcitic depending on the nature of the original limestone. The fine lime particles are bonded together with lignosulfonates during the pelletizing process. In general, the pelletized lime contains about 9% lignosulfonates. Pelletized limestone is a product that has been on the market for many years. The price of the material on a per ton basis is considerably higher than bulk ag lime, so its use has mainly been confined to specialty markets, with little use in production agriculture. However, the product is becoming more commonly used in production agriculture. Some questions have been raised about recommended rates of this material and the speed at which it reacts compared to standard ag lime.

How Much Can the Rates be Reduced for Pelletized Lime?

The recommended rates and the effect on soil pH of any agriculture lime product is related to the neutralizing value of the lime, which is a combination of the purity (calcium carbonate equivalent) and the fineness of grind (particle size). As these two properties of lime change, so does the recommended rate of lime and its effect on soil pH. The finer the lime particles and the higher the calcium carbonate equivalent, the more effective the lime and the lower the rate of lime needed to make the desired pH change.

Bulk ag lime sold in Kentucky has an average neutralizing value of 67% when averaged for all quarries. All lime recommendations in Kentucky are based on this value. Therefore, if the neutralizing value of pelletized lime is substantially higher than 67%, then the recommendation should be lower. The information to calculate the neutralizing value should be on the pelletized lime bag, and the method to calculate the neutralizing value can be found in publication AGR-106,University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. For example, a high quality pelletized lime source may have a neutralizing value of 85. If this is the case, the lime rate can be reduced to 78% of what would be recommended for bulk ag lime. This is calculated by dividing the average neutralizing value of ag lime by the neutralizing value of the pelletized lime being used (67 ”85= 0.78). In this case, 1560 lbs/ac of pelletized would be required to equal one ton of ag lime. If less than this amount of pelletized lime is used, the expected soil pH change will probably not be obtained. As can be seen from this example, the recommended rates of pelletized lime cannot be greatly reduced as compared to bulk ag lime.

How Fast Will Pelletized Lime React?

The speed of reaction (rate at which the lime will change the soil pH) is mainly a function of surface area of the lime particles and their contact with the soil. The finer the grind of lime, the more the surface area, and the faster the reaction. Since pelletized lime is pelleted from finely ground lime, it is easy to assume that it will be faster reacting than bulk spread ag lime which has some larger, non-reactive particles as a part of its composition. However, this is not true. Based on research from several states, it appears that the pelletized lime reacts no faster to raise the soil pH than good quality ag lime applied at recommended rates. In fact, incubation studies at Michigan State University found the pelletized lime to have a slower rate of reaction. Field research from other states indicate the rate of reaction is about equal to ag lime.

The slower than expected reaction of pelletized lime is probably due to two things: 1) the lignosulfonate binding, and 2) the distribution pattern. The lignosulfonate binding must break down by solubilization or microbial action before the lime is released to neutralize the soil acidity, which would delay the speed of reaction. When the pelletized lime is spread, it is distributed on the soil in pellets and results in small concentrated zones (spots) of lime after the binder dissolves. The fine, reactive particles of ag lime, in contrast, are spread as more of a dust so that the lime is better distributed and not in concentrated spots. The bulk spreading method will allow the ag lime to contact a larger amount of the soil.

Summary

Pelletized lime is an excellent source of high quality lime. Its use in agriculture has been limited due to the price. The recommended rate of pelletized lime should be based on the neutralizing value of the lime and will probably be about 75 to 80% of that for average-quality bulk ag lime. Contrary to popular belief, the speed of reaction of pelletized lime is no faster than that of bulk ag lime. Thus, when comparing the two materials, less pelletized lime is needed to raise the soil pH to the desired level, but the increase in pH is no faster than with ag lime if both are applied on the basis of their neutralizing values.

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gibowhunter #16 Posted : Monday, January 31, 2011 9:00:14 PM

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I have read so many varying results, and used both, here is my take.
A Ton of Lime is a Ton of lime, the qualities may vary but they will be close.
Particle size matters in time to work and breakdown though

To reduce waste and get it to work faster, spread over broken ground then disk in, lime spread and just harrowed will take time to leach in and may lose some to heavy rains.

Ag lime is typically 4 to 5 times cheaper than pelletized lime.

Lime is messy and corrosive, if the cost is not Much more to have it spread, that is a No-brainer

If you need lime less than 2-3 months, then you may want to look at liquid lime until the powder kicks in.

If you put out lime now, and work it in you will be fine for summer.

How long lime lasts depends on soils, sandy soils loose it faster due to leaching.
You should expect it to last 2-5 years

Having ph ideal helps the plants uptake nutrients better, lime consists of calcium, phos, etc which help the plants structure and in turn pass on to the animals.

The best lime in US usually comes from Kentucky area, it is whiter and doesnt lump up as easily as Alabama or Texas limes, but is typically more expensive.

I have seen price per ton spread range from $25-60, usually a 5-15 ton minimum, cheaper in NE MS, more expensive in central.
For bulk lime delivered and dumped its $6-30 a ton plus about 12 cents or so a mile, usually delivered in 25-30 ton minimums and loads per truck


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k9trapper #17 Posted : Monday, January 31, 2011 10:10:44 PM

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I have a minor in Soils, so here's the skinny on lime. The important thing about lime is it's neutralizing equivalent, usually the percentage of CaCO. Pelletized lime has a higher value, as pointed out in jmb's post. Lime doesn't move much in the soil, so you need to incorporate (disk or plow) it to take full and fast affect. You don't want basic soils on top, and acidic soils at root level. Ag lime is so much cheaper that the only use for pellet lime is on very small, inaccessible plots. Lime is not corrosive, it's just crushed limestone.

If you have any choice, then ag lime is the best option. It's going to take 6 months to a year to see full affects regardless of your choice. I had 42 tons spread on my KY farm
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