F. C. (Frederick Charles) Bauer.

Response of Illinois soils to limestone online

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gives an acid reaction, or that it is an "acid soil," is another way of
saying that it is deficient in available bases, especially in calcium and
magnesium. So far as the growth of crops is concerned, calcium is
the more important of these two bases.

With these facts in mind it will be of interest to compare the de-
gree of saturation of the different soils groups with their natural pro-
ductivity levels and limestone responses. Such comparisons reveal
striking differences between the dark-colored soils and the sandy and
light-colored soils (Fig. 3). In the dark-colored groups of soils, which
exhibit relatively high productive levels and rather low responses to
limestone, the degree of saturation averages about 70 percent. In the
light-colored groups, which are low in productivity and high in lime-
stone response, the degree of saturation averages about 25 percent.

Some of the individual soil groups within these two major classes
of soils (dark colored and light colored) do not, however, conform
perfectly to the above relationship. Group II, represented by the Ke-
wanee field, for instance, falls to 55 percent saturation, yet natural
productivity is high and limestone response is low. Referring to
Column 5 of Table 3, one observes that the base-exchange capacity
of this soil is high even tho the total replaceable calcium and mag-
nesium is somewhat low in comparison. This soil also shows a fair
degree of acidity. Apparently the use of the 80-percent saturation
level as an indicator for the need of limestone on a soil of this kind



1934]



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



313



is too high. Soils with a high base-exchange capacity may be able to
liberate more available calcium for crop growth than soils of low
exchange capacities, even tho the total amount of replaceable calcium
and magnesium is relatively low. On the Clayton field, representing
Group VI, with 73 percent saturation, the productivity level is lower
and the response to limestone higher than on the Kewanee field. The
total base-exchange capacity of the soil of the Clayton field is, however,
very much lower than that of the Kewanee field. For the Clayton field,
therefore, the 80-percent saturation level may be a good index to the
need for limestone. The same conditions prevail to some extent in the
light-colored soils.



160



- RELATIVE PRODUCTIVE LEVELS
PERCENTAGE BASE SATURATION
^PERCENTAGE CROP INCREASES




-10



FIG. 3. DEGREE OF BASE SATURATION AND LIMESTONE RESPONSE IN

TEN GROUPS OF ILLINOIS SOILS

The base-exchange capacity of the highly productive soils tends to be more
completely satisfied than does the base-exchange capacity of the soils of lower
productivity, as shown by the percentage base saturation. Since the response
that a soil will make to limestone applications is more or less closely related
to its percentage base saturation, the value of proper chemical tests in detect-
ing soils or fields that are deficient in limestone is evident.



When the results of the various tests for lime requirement or
acidity (Table 3) are compared with each other it is evident that
there is not exact agreement among them. The Kewanee and Mt.
Morris fields, for instance, possess about the same percentage satura-
tion and pH values, but the amounts of acidity, as indicated by the
Comber test, and the lime requirements, as indicated by the Bray-
DeTurk tests, differ. This is to be expected since the tests are based
on different principles and also because there are marked differences



314



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



in the chemical nature of the various kinds of soil. Because of the
complexity of these various relationships, the problem of clarifying
the underlying principles of soil acidity will probably always be beset
with some difficulties. So far as the farmer is concerned, however,
some of the simpler tests, such as the Comber field test for acidity,
described in Illinois Circular 346, or the Bray-DeTurk lime-require-
ment test, 1 will be of great service in quickly determining the approxi-
mate lime needs of the soil or in detecting those fields or areas
that will grow various legume crops without the application of lime
materials.

Data From Fields Discontinued Before 1931

The effects of lime treatments in the crop-residues system of
farming on the soil experiment fields discontinued before 1931 are
shown in Table 4.

During the early years of the experiment fields no attempt was
made to obtain detailed information about the character of the soil on
which the fields were located. Only the general nature of the soil of
most of the fields discontinued before 1931 is known. Neither was any

TABLE 4. ILLINOIS SOIL EXPERIMENT FIELDS DISCONTINUED BEFORE 1931, SHOWING
RESPONSE TO LIMESTONE IN RESIDUES SYSTEM OF FARMING



Fields


Duration of
experiment

(1)


Natural
produc-
tivity,
average
corn
yield

(2)


Lime applied


Average annual acre-yields
of all crops


Kind
(3)


Total
amount

(4)


Resi-
dues

(5)


Resi-
dues,
lime

(6)


In-
crease

(7)


Ratio
RL
R

(8)


Dark-colored soils


1902-23

1906-19
1905-10
1904-18
1906-09
1902-13
1913-27

1902-13

1902-29

1912-23
1913-22


bu.
57.8

49.5
45.7
58.3
43.7
47.5
43.6

34.2

54.6

29.8
26.5
44.7

30.9
11.2

18.2
17.9

47.0


f Slaked
\Limestone
Limestone
Slaked
Limestone
Limestone
Hyd rated
Limestone
/Slaked
\ Limestone
/Slaked
I Limestone
Limestone
Limestone


ton*
.141
7.00J
6.90
.58
4.65
.70
.20
8.00
.581
3.06J
.421
7.00/
7.50
8.00


Ibs.
2 201

2 598
2 437
2 535
2 189
2 006
2 165

1 038

2 332

2 119
1 362
2 603

2 472
591

704
1 256

1 877


Ibs.
2 038

2 511
2 501
2 596
2 331
2 193
2 403

1 156

2 633

2 546
1 834
2 733

2 801
840

1 067
1 569

1 601


/6s.
-163

- 87
64
61
142
187
238

118

301

427
472
130

329
249

363
313

-276


.926

.967
1.022
1.024
1.065
1.093
1.110

1.114

1.129

1.202
1.346
1.050

1.130
1 431

1.515
1.249

.853


Rockf ord




Galesburg


Myrtle


Sibley


Sidell


Mascoutah


Urbana




Pana




Light-colored soils


1903-11
1902-23

1902-17


Limestone
Slaked
/Slaked
\Limestone


10.00
5.00
3.201
4.00J


DuBois


Cutler




Sand soils
Greenvalley ....


1902-07


Slaked


.16





'Soil Science 32. 5:329 (1931).



1934] RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE 315

uniform practice followed in the early use of lime materials. Never-
theless the results from these fields are of interest, especially since
they correspond fairly closely to the results obtained from the twenty-
five fields still in operation in 1931.

More or less variation in the natural productivity of the fields in-
cluded in the group of dark-colored soils is indicated by the corn
yields recorded in Column 2 of Table 4. This variation is due mainly
to the fact that several different soil types are represented in this
group. The interesting fact about the data from these fields, how-
ever, is that the response to lime varies more or less inversely with
the natural productivity of the soil. This is evident from a study of
the figures in the last two columns. Those fields producing the highest
average yields of corn without treatment have given little or no re-
sponse to lime. As the natural productivity level declines, the re-
sponse to lime tends to increase. On the Pana field, for example,
which has the lowest average yield of corn, all crop yields have been
increased more than a third by the use of limestone.

Besides differences in response to limestone that result from dif-
ferences in the natural productivity of the soil, we find differences in
response because of the type of crop rotation employed. On a lime-
deficient soil, rotations that include the liberal use of legume crops
appear to make better use of applied limestone than do rotations that
consist almost entirely of grain crops. The Urbana field, for example,
on which alfalfa was grown regularly as one of the rotation crops,
showed a very favorable response to limestone. On fields where the
rotations consisted chiefly of grain crops, the response to limestone
was somewhat unfavorable. The response of legumes to limestone
is especially fortunate, for legumes improve the soil and may gen-
erally be regarded as high-profit crops.

The light-colored soils are not extensively represented by these
fields. What evidence there is agrees with that of the fields reported
in Table 2 in showing the productive levels of such soils to be much
lower than those of the dark-colored soils and the degree of response
to lime treatments to be considerably higher.

On the one sandy field represented, the crops showed no response
to the lime applied.



316



BULLETIN No. 405



[June.



RESPONSE OF INDIVIDUAL CROPS
TO LIMESTONE

Corn

The behavior of individual crops on various kinds of limed soils
is also a matter of much interest. Increases in the yields of corn result-
ing from the application of limestone are shown graphically in Fig. 4
and are also illustrated in Figs. 5 and 6.

The natural productivity of the soil is clearly an important factor
in the response of corn to applied limestone. The light-colored, less



LIMESTONE AND MANURE







W O -I



DARK-COLORED SOILS



LIGHT-COLORED SOILS



LIMESTONE AND CROP RESIDUES




FIG. 4. INFLUENCE OF LIMESTONE ON CORN YIELDS

The dark-colored soils tend to give the largest increases in yields for lime-
stone in the crop-residues system, while on the light-colored soils limestone
gives the largest increases when used with manure.



1934]



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



317



productive soils have given significantly larger increases than the
dark-colored, more productive soils. More or less variation in re-
sponse on the different fields within the major soil groups is also
evident. In the dark-colored group, for example, the naturally more
productive soils tend to give the least response. In the light-colored




Fie. 5. ON SOILS OF NATURALLY Low PRODUCTIVITY LIMESTONE Is

USUALLY STRIKINGLY EFFECTIVE

The acre-yield of corn on the unlimed land was 1 bushel, while more than
50 bushels were harvested from the limed land. Limestone is indispensable on
many soils. Ewing field, 1928.



group, the relationship between the natural productivity of a soil and
the response made by corn to limestone applications is not so pro-
nounced.

On the dark-colored soils the residues system has caused larger
increases in corn yields than the manure system. On the light-colored
soils the manure system has given the larger crop increases. Ap-
parently the manure takes care of the major soil deficiencies in the
dark-colored soil, and hence there is less need for limestone.

With the light-colored soils, however, deficiencies other than lime-



318



BULLETIN No. 405



TABLE 5. MANURE SYSTEM: RESPONSE OF WHEAT, CORN, OATS, AND HAY TO

LIMESTONE ON ILLINOIS SOIL EXPERIMENT FIELDS

(Yields are given as annual acre averages)



Soil groups and fields in
order of natural
productivity


Wheat yields'


Corn yields 1


Oat yields 1


Hay yields 1


Ma-
nure
only

(1)


Ratio
ML
M

(2)


Ma-
nure
only

(3)


Ratio
ML
M

(4)


Ma-
nure
only

(5)


Ratio
ML
M

(6)


Ma-
nure
only

(7)


Ratio
ML
M

(8)


I. Dark soils with heavy, noncal-


bu.
28.4
38.9
34.5
33.4
33.8

32.5
39.6

27.3
28.9
28.1

24.6

24.2
23.1
24.9
23.2
23.9

12.7

8.4
8.7
8.5

12.3
13.2
7.3
9.2
2.0
5.9
8.3

6.9


1.194
1.018
1.052
.952
1.047

1.083
1.002

1.198
1.104
1.149

1.163

1.161
1.169
1.177
1.293
1.197

1.504

1.786
2.287
2.047

1.683
1.894
2.699
2.065
6.600
3.830
2.410

2.029


bu.
56.6
58.5
68.9
58.8
60.7

66.5
46.4

58.8
57.3
58.0

39.0

44.7
53.6
38.2
37.9
43.6

25.4

20.5
22.9
21.7

29.4
28.2
26.9
18.1
16.4
22.3
23.5

18.9


1.125
1.018
.996
1.019
1.036

1.069
1.093

1.122
1.086
1.105

1.169

1.203
1.138
1.183
1.203
1.179

1.378

1.424
1.620
1.525

1.401
1.415
1.558
1.591
1.634
1.803
1.549

1.799


bu.
52.7
74.3
67.6
62.4
64.2

71.5
48.0

67.9
64.0
66.0

63.2

43.2
47.2
36.9
42.3
42.4


1.104
.981
1.044
.970
1.020

1.021
1.077

1.053
1.053
1.053

1.027

1.130
1.106
1.119
1.158
1.127


Ions
2.21
2.94
2.37
2.47
2.50

2.24
2.67

2.31
2.30
2.30

1.44

2.32
2.13
2.22
1.83
2.12

.11

.86
.29

.58

.68
.41
.48
.00
.79
.26
.44

.27


1.063
.993
1.101
1.008
1.036

1.053
1.026

1.195
1.070
1.135

1.146

1.121
1.263
1.158
1.481
1.245

13.818

1.488
5.034
2.362

2.368
3.366
2.833
(1.85)
1.519
5.038
3.295

5.111


Hartsburg


LaMoille


Aledo




Average


II. Dark soils with noncalcareous
subsoils
Kewanee


III. Brownish-yellow soils with open,
noncalcareous subsoils
Springvalley


IV. Dark soils with open, noncal-
careous subsoils




Average


V. Dark soils with impervious, cal-
careous subsoils
Joliet


VI. Dark soils with impervious, non-
calcareous subsoils
Carthage


Clayton




Carlinville


Average


VII. Sandy loams and sands
Oquawka


VIII. Yellow soils with noncalcareous
subsoils






Enfield


17.6
17.6

25.0
19.5
17.2


1.682
1.682

1.336
1.615
1.640


Average


IX. Gray soils with impervious, non-
calcareous subsoils


Toledo


Raleigh


Sparta


Newton


24.4
14.9
20.2


1.443
2.094
1.579


Ewing


Average


X. Hilly land
Elizabethtown . . .



Yields on the limed land can be determined by multiplying the yields on the unlimed land by
their response ratios. 'Actual yield for limestone.



stone are important, and before the full effects of limestone can be
realized these deficiencies must be corrected. That the application of
manure does tend to correct important soil deficiencies on these soils



1934]



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



319



TABLE 6. RESIDUES SYSTEM: RESPONSE OF WHEAT, CORN, OATS, AND HAY TO

LIMESTONE ON ILLINOIS SOIL EXPERIMENT FIELDS

(Yields are given as annual acre averages)



Soil groups and fields in
order of natural
productivity


Wheat yields*


Corn yields 1


Oat yields'


Hay yields'


Resi-
dues
only

(1)


Ratio
RL
R

(2)


Resi-
dues
only
(3)


Ratio
RL
R

(4)


Resi-
dues
only
(5)


Ratio
RL
R

(6)


Resi-
dues
only

(7)


Ratio
RL
R

(8)


I. Dark soils with heavy, noncal-
careous subsoils
Hartsburg '.


bu.
30.8
37.5
31.2
33.1
33.2

31.8
39.3

24.7
26.1
25.4

22.2

21.0

22.1
21.9
18.4
20.8

12.1

7.4
7.7
7.6

11.3
11.3
10.0
7.7
5.4
1.7
3.4
7.2

4.2


.922
1.056
1.099
.909
.997

1.075
1.023

1.279
1.123
1.197

1.081

1.371
1.204
1.311
1.402
1.317

1.471

2.054
2.338
2.184

1.726
2.000
1.870
2.143
3.315
5.582
5.912
2.472

2.405


bu.
69.2
53.3
62.8
57.7
59.2

59.0

47.8

50.8
49.3
50.0

33.8

49.2
47.6
34.2
33.2
41.0

20.8

16.2
19.0
17.6

24.5
18.5
20.6
18.3
15.2
10.3
12.3
17.1

14.7


1.052
1.073
1.123
1.036
1.071

1.139
1.040

1.232
1.156
1.196

1.151

1.201
1.220
1.374
1.223
1.254

1.745

1.969
1.731
1.841

1.269
1.405
1.209
1.891
1.586
1.650
2.049
1.526

2.170


bu.
50.2
69.8
70.8
61.4
63.0

61.1

48.7

58.3
57.9
55.9

55.9

52.2
52.9
41.4
39.8
46.5


.972
1.063
1.047
1.020
1.030

1.083
1.121

1.294
1.173
1.231

1.061

1.130
1.191
1.488
1.314
1.267


tons
2.00
2.00
1.82
1.75
1.89

1.38
2.33

1.57
1.54
1.56

.99

1.53
1.62
1.26
1.96
1.59

.11

.59
.18
.38

.63
.37
.40
.28
.00
.55
.21
.35

.16


.995
1.045
1.000
.966
l.OOO

1.174
1.030

1.293
1.130
1.211

1.162

1.248
1.377
1.294
1.316
1.314

13.364

1.458
6.722
2.710

2.286
3.594
2.650
2.929
(1. 39')
1.727
4.905
3.296

2.938


LaMoille


\ledo




Average -.


II. Dark soils with noncalcareous
subsoils


III. Brownish-yellow soils with open,
noncalcareous subsoils


IV. Dark soils with open, noncal-
careous subsoils






V. Dark soils with impervious, cal-
careous subsoils
Joliet


VI. Dark soils with impervious, non-
calcareous subscils
Carthage


Clayton




Carlinville


Average


VII. Sandy loams and sands


VIII. Yellow soils with noncalcareous
subsoils.






Enfield


16.9
16.9

32.3
17.3


2.308
2.308

1.542
2.058




IX. Gray soils with impervious, non-
calcareous subsoils




Odin


Raleigh


16.8


1.869


Sparta


Newton


17.0
15.8
19.8


2.006
2.297
1.889






X. Hilly land









'Yields on the limed land can be determined by multiplying the yields on the unlimed land by
their response ratios. 'Actual yield for limestone.



and hence to make possible a greater response to limestone is con-
firmed by a comparison of the long-time crop yields and the yields of
the last rotation. In the manure system every field in the light-colored



320



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



group, with the exception of the Elizabethtown field, has given a
greater response to limestone during the last rotation than during the
complete period of experimentation, a fact that indicates the increas-
ing value of limestone applications. In the residues system only four
fields in the light-colored group show such increases and some have




FIG. 6. LIMESTONE IMPROVES BOTH YIELD AND QUALITY OF CORN
The acre-yield of corn where the land was treated with manure and lime-
stone was 49.1 bushels, and 11.3 bushels were reasonably sound ears. The total
yield on the land receiving only manure was 35.1 bushels, and only 3.3 bushels
were reasonably sound. Toledo- field, 1933.



shown rather large decreases. Experiments indicate that the fields
in the light-colored group are deficient in potash, a deficiency which
manure corrects.

Wheat

The influence of limestone on wheat yields (Fig. 7) is, in general,
similar to its influence on corn yields (Fig. 4), the light-colored, less
productive soils giving larger increases than the dark-colored, more
productive soils. Within the major soil groups, moreover, there is
a variation in response among the different fields, the naturally less
productive fields showing the greatest increases in yields. Wheat in-



1934}



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



321



creases from limestone application have been smaller, however, than
corn increases. On the more productive dark-colored soils the wheat
increases have been negligible.

Wheat grown on light-colored soils has been especially responsive
to limestone in the residues system, a noticeable contrast to the re-




S *



DARK-COLORED SOILS



LIGHT-COLORED SOILS



LIMESTONE AND CROP RESIDUES




$ 9



DARK-COLORED SOILS



LIGHT-COLORED SOILS



FIG. 7. INFLUENCE OF LIMESTONE ON WHEAT YIELDS

Wheat is not strikingly responsive to limestone on dark-colored soils as a
group, but on light-colored soils it tends to be much more responsive than corn.



sponse of corn under similar conditions. During the last rotation
period all the fields on light-colored soils except four gave an average
annual increase that was larger than the increase for the longer period.
Apparently other soil deficiencies, such as a low supply of potash,
do not check wheat yields so much as they do corn yields. On the



322



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



Raleigh field, however, soil deficiencies other than limestone have re-
tarded the yields during the last rotation period.




FIG. 8. ON LAND OF Low PRODUCTIVITY WHEAT YIELDS ARE LIKELY
TO BE VERY POOR WITHOUT LIMESTONE

With manure alone, only 1 bushel of wheat was produced on the above field.
Twenty-four bushels were harvested on land that had received both limestone
and manure. Neivton field, 1930.




FIG. 9. WHEAT YIELDS ON SAND LAND WERE MORE THAN

DOUBLED BY LIMESTONE
The unlimed field yielded at the rate of 15 bushels of wheat an acre. The
limed field produced 35 bushels an acre. Oquawka field, 1930.



1934} RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE

Oats



323



The influence of limestone on oat yields has been most marked on
the light-colored soils, especially in the residues system (Fig. 10). In
the manure system, however, limestone has tended to be less effective




FIG. 10. INFLUENCE OF LIMESTONE ON OAT YIELDS

Limestone has produced greater increases in yields of oats on the light-
colored soils than on the dark-colored soils. On both groups of soils the residues
system has given better results than the manure system.

on all fields. On the dark-colored soils as a group it was relatively
ineffective. In general the oat rotation yields, compared with long-
time yields, reveal increasing responses, especially in the light-colored
group. There is no particular evidence that the response of the oat



324



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



crop has been interfered with, especially, by deficiencies of other
nutrients.

On the whole, oats appear to be less responsive to limestone than
either corn or wheat.

Hay Crops

Study of the influences of limestone on the growth and yield of
hay is somewhat complicated by the fact that the same hay crops were
not used on all fields. On many of the dark-colored soils red clover



LIMESTONE AND MANURE




FIG. 11. INFLUENCE OF LIMESTONE ON HAY CROPS

Limestone applications have increased hay yields in about the same way as
they have the grain yields. In the manure system, increases during the last
rotation have tended to be larger than during the longer period. In the residues
system this tendency has not been so apparent, the absence of other nutrients
making it impossible for limestone to become fully effective.



1934}



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



325



was the usual hay crop grown, on some fields alfalfa was grown, and
on others a mixture of red clover and alfalfa was used. In recent
years a mixture of alsike clover, red clover, alfalfa, and timothy has
been used on the light-colored soils. In the earlier years alsike and
red clover were used alone. When the hay crops have failed, soybeans
have usually been substituted.




FIG. 12. LIMESTONE MAKES GOOD HAY YIELDS POSSIBLE ON SOILS

OF Low NATURAL PRODUCTIVITY

A mixed hay seeding produced no crop where only manure was applied. It
yielded over 2 tons of good hay an acre on the land that received limestone
and manure. The mixed hay contained considerable alfalfa. Enfield field, 1931.



The largest responses of harvested hay crops to limestone have
been obtained on the light-colored soils (Figs. 11 and 12). Rather low
responses have been obtained on a number of the dark-colored soils.
Limestone has thus affected the hay crops in a way somewhat similar
to the way in which it has affected the grain crops.

In general the average annual increases in weight of crop ma-
terials during the last rotation, in both the residues and the manure
systems, are as great as those obtained for the longer period, or
greater. In the manure system, especially, the response has been
favorable during the last rotation ; but in the residues system the re-
sponse for the last rotation has been similar to that for the longer
period. The slowing up of the response in the residues system prob-
ably indicates a deficiency of nutrients not supplied by limestone or
crop residues.

On the whole the response of the hay crops to limestone has been



326



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



sufficiently favorable to indicate the need of limestone for hay pro-
duction on many Illinois soils.

Comparative Responses of Above Crops

The relative importance of limestone for wheat, corn, oats, and
hay is indicated by the data recorded in Tables 5 and 6 and Fig. 13.
The crop yields are given for the unlimed land, and the influence of



240



200



160



eo



4C



I MANURE SYSTEM
%Z& RESIDUES SYSTEM




WHEAT CORN OATS HAY

DARK-COLORED SOILS



WHEAT CORN HAY

SAND SOILS



WHEAT CORN OATS HAY

LIGHT-COLORED SOILS



FIG. 13. COMPARATIVE RESPONSE OK WHEAT, CORN, OATS, AND HAY

TO LIMESTONE APPLICATIONS

On dark-colored soils the responses of the various kinds of crops have been
somewhat similar, tho oats have tended to be the least responsive. AH crops
have been more responsive on sandy soils than on other soils, the hay crops
being very responsive. On the light-colored soils the grain crops are much more
responsive than on the other kinds of soil. Wheat is about twice as responsive
as corn on these soils. The hay crops are highly responsive but less so than
when grown on sandy soils.



limestone is recorded as a ratio between the limed and the unlimed


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Online LibraryF. C. (Frederick Charles) BauerResponse of Illinois soils to limestone → online text (page 2 of 5)