How Much Lime To Apply?

“If you want your land to be productive, you need to have the correct pH for what you grow,” according to Pat Miller, MU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist.  Making pH corrections is the first step to getting your land to reach its potential.  How do you go about that?  According to Miller, you take a soil sample. 

The field should be divided by soil type and past cropping and fertilizing history.  Take 20 to 30 surface-to-six inch cores across the area and mix it together.  Most county extension offices can loan you a soil probe.  For more information on sampling, see MU Extension guide G9217, Soil Sampling Hayfields and Row Crops.

Be sure to list the proper crop codes to get the best recommendations.  For forages, you will need to know if it will be hay or pasture, cool season or warm season grass and if it has legumes or not.  Legumes like clover will require more lime that just grasses.  With crops, soybeans will need more lime than corn or wheat. 

Missouri lime recommendations are in units of effective neutralizing material (ENM).  This is a rating based on percentage of calcium carbonate equivalent (purity) and fineness of grind.  The quarry can tell you the ENM of their lime.  The Missouri Lime Report  ( will give the reported lime ENM from quarries across the state.  If your soil test recommends 1200 ENM and your lime is 400 ENM, you would need to apply 3 tons (1200 divided by 400).  See Extension guide G9107  If the lime is not being worked into the soil, only apply two tons at a time.  If more is recommended, apply two to three years later. 

If you have questions, contact Miller at 417-448-2560 or