F. C. (Frederick Charles) Bauer.

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increases, while on the Joliet and Kewanee fields there have been
slowly increasing yields.

The sandy and the hilly lands, represented by the Oquawka and
Elizabethtown fields, have given very favorable responses to lime-
stone. This is especially true of the sandy Oquawka field, which,
during the first eight years of the test, gave the most rapid response
of all the fields studied. During the last nine years crop yields have
tended to remain stationary or to decline slightly, suggesting that
limestone is possibly decreasing in its effectiveness. The hilly land at
Elizabethtown also responded very rapidly at first to limestone ap-
plications, but here too, after eight years, crop yields have tended to
remain stationary or to decline.

General Discussion of Response Trends

As indicated in the foregoing graphs, different soils vary con-
siderably in the rapidity of their response to limestone and in the
degree of their response. The more productive, dark-colored soils
(Group I), on the whole, have given rather small increases in crop
yields as a result of limestone applications. Two fields in this group
that produced good crops for many years without showing much
response to limestone have begun to give increased yields for lime-
stone, a fact which indicates that they are becoming lime-deficient.
From now on they are likely to give increasing responses to limestone.

On all the other dark-colored soils the crop increases in recent
years have tended to remain stationary and on some fields even to
decline. This slowing up of response may hint that other nutrients
are becoming deficient and that such deficiencies are interfering with



342



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



the effects of limestone. That other nutrients are becoming deficient
in the dark-colored soils is indicated by the differences in response
to limestone in the manure and in the residues systems. On the more
productive dark-colored soils the response in the residues system has



DARK SOIL WITH IMPERVIOUS CALCAREOUS SUBSOIL



BROWNISH YELLOW SOILS WITH OPEN NONCALCAREOUS SUBSOILS




FIG. 22. TREND OF LIMESTONE INFLUENCE ON SOIL GROUPS

REPRESENTED BY A SINGLE FIELD

No very definite responses have been exhibited by the Joliet, Kewanee, and
Springvalley fields, representing Groups II, III, and V. The Oquawka and
Elizabethtown fields, representing Groups VII and X, however, showed rather
rapid response for the first ten years, and these responses reached rather high
levels.



been as great as that in the manure system, or greater. On the less
productive dark-colored soils the advantage in favor of the residues
system has tended to disappear. On the sandy and the light-colored
soils the advantages have been decidedly in favor of the manure sys-



1934]



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



343



tern. Evidently the legume-limestone system of soil management is
not so effective in meeting the requirements of the less productive
soils as is the manure-limestone system. Deficiencies in phosphorus or
potassium, or both, are met in part at least by the manure applied.
Tho nutrients other than phosphorus and potassium may also be in-
volved, experiments indicate that on some fields Joliet and Eliza-
bethtown, for example the deficient element probably is phosphorus.
On the light-colored soils, such as those represented by the Ewing,
Toledo, and other fields, there is apparently a deficiency of potassium.
Where either deficiency exists, the effectiveness of limestone is likely
to be reduced until the deficiency is corrected.

Lasting Effects of Single Applications of Limestone

The West Salem field (a mature yellow soil with noncalcareous
subsoil, Group VIII), not represented in the above summaries, pro-
vides data that show the long-time response that may result from
a single application of limestone. In 1912 limestone at the rate of 4



600



600



400



200



SINGLE APPLICATION
REPEATED WITH MANURE
REPEATED WITH RESIDUES




1912



1916



1920



1924



1928



1932



FIG. 23. LASTING EFFECTS OF A SINGLE APPLICATION OF LIMESTONE

AS SHOWN BY INCREASES IN CROP YIELDS

A 4-ton application of limestone was made to certain plots on the West
Salem field in 1912. One of these plots received no further limestone. The
greatest increase in crop yields on this plot occurred in 1919, the eighth year
after the limestone application, and it is apparent that this one application is
still having an effect. The crops grown were corn, oats, wheat, and hay in
rotation.



344 BULLETIN No. 405 [June,

tons an acre was applied to each of three plots that were originally
designed for crop production without limestone. One of these plots
has never received any further treatment; another has received ma-
nure only; and a third has received crop residues only. Similar plots
receiving regular applications of limestone were maintained alongside
the above plots until 1923, when limestone applications were tempo-
rarily discontinued on all plots.

The lasting effect of a single application of limestone without
manure or residues, over a twenty-year period, is indicated by the
solid line in Fig. 23. The single application steadily increased crop
yields until the eighth year. During the eighth and ninth years the
increases remained about stationary, but after the ninth year they grew
steadily smaller. After twenty years, however, there is still evidence
of a decided influence from the single application of limestone.

The repeated applications of limestone in the manure and residues
systems showed little superiority over the single application until the
eighth year, after which they gave much better results. Apparently a
second application of limestone to soils of this type is not needed until
about eight years after the initial application.

The increases in yields resulting from the repeated applications
of limestone, even tho none have been made since 1923, still show a
steady upward trend.

Response Trends as Related to Total Yields

In studying only the spreads between total yields on treated land
and total yields on comparable untreated land the question arises
whether the differences are the result of definite improvement in the
productive level of the treated land or of the declining productivity
of the untreated land. This question is answered in Fig. 24 for two
groups of Illinois soils Group VI, the dark soils with impervious,
noncalcareous subsoils, and Group IX, the gray soils with impervious,
noncalcareous subsoils.

The increases arising from the application of limestone to these
soils were, without exception, the result of improved crop yields on
the limed land and not of declining yields on the unlimed land. On
some fields the yields from the unlimed land tended to remain about
the same year after year ; on other fields they tended to become larger
but at a slower rate than those obtained from the limed land. On no
field was there any tendency for the yields on the limed land to remain
stationary while the yields on the unlimed land declined, nor was there
any tendency for the yields on the limed land to decline but at a
slower rate than on the unlimed land. These statements are also de-



1934]



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



345



script! ve of the action of limestone on the fields in the other soil
groups studied.

Thus the role of limestone in soil management takes on further
significance when it is demonstrated that it makes a positive contri-
bution to soil productivity rather than merely retarding the process
of fertility decline.



'200







1910 1913



1916



1919



1922



1925



1928 1931



FIG. 24. CROP YIELDS ON LIMED AND UNLIMED PLOTS OF Two GROUPS
OF SOILS UNDER THE MANURE AND CROP RESIDUES

SYSTEMS OF TREATMENT

That the increases in yields credited to limestone applications on the fields
in the above soil groups are the result of definite improvement in yields on
the limed land is evident from the fact that the yields on the unlimed land have
shown no special tendency to decline. Group VI represents the dark soils with
impervious, noncalcareous subsoils, and Group IX the gray soils with the same
kind of subsoil.



346 BULLETIN No. 405 [June,

ECONOMIC RESPONSES TO LIMESTONE

The effects of limestone on various soils, as measured by crop
responses, have been shown in the preceding pages without reference
to the economic value of such response. A farm practice that has
scientific interest is not, however, generally adopted until it becomes
clear that it is also economically worth while that is, that it will
return a satisfactory margin of profit above all costs.

Attempts to generalize concerning the net returns from a given
soil treatment over a period of years in such a way that the state-
ments have meaning for individual farms are beset with many diffi-
culties. Money values must be used, and yet not only are crop prices
constantly changing but they vary in different localities, and purchase
prices, interest rates, costs of hauling and distributing, and costs of
harvesting and marketing the increases in yield vary from farm to
farm. Any figures that result from the application of money values
to costs and returns must therefore be considered only general indexes
of the probable meaning of the practice to an individual farmer. A
farmer must refigure costs and returns in accordance with his own
experiences before he can know, with a satisfactory degree of accu-
racy, the value of a practice to him.

Because prices have varied so widely in recent years, three levels
of crop prices are used in interpreting, in terms of money values,
some of the crop-yield data obtained in these experiments. They
represent the average of the higher prices that have prevailed, of
medium prices, and of lower prices, as follows:



Wheat


Higher
prices
$ 1.25


Medium Lower
prices prices
$ .88 $ .50


Corn


70


.49 .28


Oats


40


.28 .16


Hav..


12.50


8.75 5.00



Acre-Values of Crop Increases

The value of the increases in crop yields resulting from the use
of limestone on Illinois soils, at three levels of crop prices, is indi-
cated in Table 10.

For most fields approximately two-fifths of a ton, or 800 pounds
of limestone (Column 2), may be charged against the annual acre-
value of the crop increases. If this amount of limestone should cost
around $1.50 applied to the soil, then applications of limestone on the
most productive soils (Group I) have not been profitable at any of the



19341



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



347



TABLE 10. AVERAGE ANNUAL ACRE-VALUES OF CROP INCREASES RESULTING FROM

USE OF LIMESTONE ON ILLINOIS SOILS

(At three levels of prices 1 )



Soil groups and fields in
order of natural
productivity


Limestone
applied


Value of crop increases
in manure system


Value of crop increases
in residues system


Total
amount

(1)


Annual
rate

(2)


At
higher
crop
prices
(3)


At

medium
crop
prices
(4)


At
lower
crop
prices
(5)


At

higher
crop
prices

(6)


At

medium
crop
prices
(7)


At
lower
crop
prices
(8)


I. Dark soils with heavy, non-
calcareous subsoils


tons
8.50
7.75
8.25
8.25
8.19

6.75

6.75

7.75
8.25
8.00

7.40

7.75
7.75
8.75
9.25
8.37

7.90

8.75
7.75
8.25

8.25
7.25
8.90
9.25
6.75
5.50
9.25
7.88

5.25


tons
.42
.41
.41
.41
.41

.40

.40

.41
.41
.41

.41

.41
.41
.42
.42
.41

.44

.42
.41
.41

.41
.38
.30
.42
.42
.29
.42
.38

.37


$3.89
.17
1.96
-.26
1.44

1.67

1.07

4.24
2.46
3.35

3.62

4.03
4.61
4.06
6.47
4.79

8.79

6.63
9.33
7.98

7.45
8.39


$2.72
.12
1.37
-.18
1.01

1.17

.75

2.97
1.72
2.34

2.53

2.82
3.23
2.84
4.53
3.35

6.15

4.64
6.53
5.59

5.21
5.87


$1.55
.07
.79
-.10
.58

.67

.43

1.70
.99
1.34

1.45

1.61
1.85
1.62
2.59
1.92

3.51

2.65
3.73
3.19

2.98
3.36


$-.30
1.89
3.13
-.62
1.02

2.72

1.59

6.48
3.02
4.75

2.84

5.43
5.54
6.12
5.72
5.70

9.06

6.90
8.69
7.80

6.41
7.85
5.04
7.94
9.39
6.18
9.91
7.53

8.01


$-.21
1.32
2.19
-.43
.71

1.90

1.11

4.54
2.11
3.32

1.99

3.80
3.88
4.28
4.00
3.99

6.34

4.83
6.08
5.46

4.49
5.50
3.53
5.56
6.57
4.33
6.94
5.27

5.61


$-.12
.75
1.25
-.25
.41

1.09

.63

2.59
1.21
1.90

1.13

2.17
2.21
2.45
2.29
2.28

3.63

2.76
3.48
3.12

2.56
3.14
2.02
3.17
3.75
2.48
3.96
3.01

3.20


LaMoille :


Aledo


Minonk


Average


II. Dark soils with noncalcare-
ous subsoils
Kewanee


III. Brownish-yellow soils with
open, noncalcareous
subsoils


IV. Dark soils with noncalcare-
ous subsoils






V. Dark soils with impervious,
calcareous subsoils
Joliet


VI. Dark soils with impervious,
noncalcareous subsoils


Clayton




Carlinville




VII. Sandy loams and sands
Oquawka


VIII. Yellow soils with noncal-
careous subsoils


Enneld




IX. Cray soils with impervious,
noncalcareous subsoils
Oblong


Toledo


Odin


Raleigh


9.15
8.78
8.35
11.19
8.89

8.34


6.40
6.15
5.85
7.83
6.22

5.84


3.66
3.51
3.34
4.47
3.55

3.34


Sparta


Newton




Average


X. Hilly land
Elizabethtown . .



'See page 346.



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



price-levels used. At the higher crop prices the use of limestone in the
manure system has given sufficiently large crop increases to cover
this investment, but the margins left to cover the costs of harvesting
and marketing the increases in yields and other costs are too small to
make the use of limestone profitable on such soils as a group. On the
Hartsburg field in the manure system and on the Aledo field in the
residues system sufficiently large increases were obtained to justify
the use of limestone.

On some fields the application of limestone has been a paying
practice at the higher crop prices but not at the lower prices. In
general, however, all the least productive dark-colored soils, the sandy




ET Y 3ZI

SOIL GROUPS

FIG. 25. ACRE- VALUES OF CROP INCREASES WITH LIMESTONE
The various soil groups in the above chart are arranged in descending order
of natural productivity. As productivity decreases from one group to another,
the acre-value of the crop increases obtained from the use of limestone usually
become larger. This tendency for crop increases to grow larger as produc-
tivity grows less is not so striking, however, for the sandy and light-colored
silt loam soils, all of them giving about the same response regardless of their
different natural productivity levels. Evidently there are limits of productivity
beyond which it is practically impossible to obtain greater increases for lime-
stone. (Based on medium crop prices.)



soils, and the light-colored soils have given sufficient increases in crop
yields at all price-levels to pay for all additional costs resulting from
the use of limestone. The sandy soils and some of the gray soils have
given especially favorable economic responses. On the Ewing field in
the gray group, for example, the value of the crop increases from
limestone in the manure system at the lower prices has averaged nearly
$4.50 an acre annually. Such returns should cover all costs involved
in the use of limestone and provide a satisfactory profit from its use.



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE 349

The values of the annual crop increases from limestone, calculated
on the basis of the medium crop prices, are shown graphically in
Fig. 25 for all the different soils and for both the manure and the
residues systems.

On the dark-colored soils the residues system gave the greater
increase in crop values, while on the light-colored soils the manure
system gave the greater increases. The superiority of the manure
system on the light-colored soils, as already pointed out, is no doubt
due to the value of the manure in correcting certain soil deficiencies
that do not exist on the dark-colored soils.

Since, as previously shown, the increases that have resulted from
limestone, considering all fields and all soil groups, have been, in
general, progressively larger from field to field with a decrease in the
natural productive levels of these fields, the money values of the crop
increases would naturally vary in the same way. Attention is also
called again to the fact that in the three soil groups with the lowest
productive levels there was little difference in the returns from lime-
stone.

Ton- Values of Limestone as Measured by Value
of Crop Increases

The value of the increases in crop yields resulting from each ton
of limestone used upon the different experiment fields is indicated in
Table 11. The values are based on the three different price-levels
stated on page 346.

The ton- values of limestone vary greatly on different soils. At
the lower prices for crops the average value of a ton of limestone
used in the residues system on the more productive dark-colored soils
stands at $1.00. On the least productive soils it has proved more than
nine times as great as on the more productive dark-colored soils. At
the higher prices in the residues system it varies from $2.50 to more
than $23 a ton. On the Newton field in the manure system it reaches
$28.85. These figures are long-time averages. Values for the last
rotation period would be somewhat larger, as is indicated by some of
the charts on pages 334-345.

The use of limestone has resulted in a margin of return above its
cost on most soils. If the average purchase, hauling, and distributing
costs should fall somewhere between $3 and $4 a ton, the average
values of the increases in crop yields resulting from each ton of lime-
stone used would be more than ample to cover all costs involved and
still leave a good margin for its use on many fields. Even at the
lower prices for crops there is a margin of profit on the majority of



350



BULLETIN No. 405



[June,



TABLE 11. VALUES OF CROP INCREASES PER TON OF LIMESTONE USED IN
ILLINOIS FIELD EXPERIMENTS
(At three levels of crop prices 1 )



Soil groups and fields in
order of natural
productivity


Total
lime-
stone
applied

(1)


Num-
ber of
years
in-
volved

(2)


Ton-values of limestone
in manure system


Ton-values of limestone
in residues system


At
higher
crop
prices
(3)


At
medium
crop
prices
(4)


At
lower
crop
prices
(5)


At
higher
crop
prices
(6)


At
medium
crop
prices

(7)


At
lower
crop
prices
(8)


I. Dark soils with heavy, non-
calcareous subsoils


tons
8.50
7.75
8.25
8.25
8.19

6.75

6.75

7.75
8.25
8.00

7.40

7.75
7.75
8.75
9.25
8.37

7.90

8.75
7.75
8.25

8.25
7.25
8.90
9.25
6.75
5.50
9.25
7.88

5.25


20
19
20
20

17

17

19
20

18

19
19
21
22

18

21
19

20
19
30
22
16
19
22

14


$9.14
.42
4.76
-.62
3.42

4.20

2.70

10.41
5.96
8.19

8.80

9.87
11.30
9.74
15.40
11.58

20.02

15.90
22.87
19.39

18.06
21.98


$6.40
.29
3.33
-.43
2.39

2.94

1.89

7.29
4.17
5.73

6.16

6.91
7.91
6.82
10.78
8.11

14.01

11.13
16.01
13.57

12.64
15.39


$3.66
.17
1.90
-.25
1.37

1.68

1.08

4.17
2.38
3.28

3.52

3.95
4.52
3.90
6.16
4.63

8.01

6.36
9.15
7.76

7.22
8.79


$-.71
4.62
7.58
-1.50
2.50

6.85

4.01

15.58
7.32
11.45

6.91

13.31
13.58
14.68
13.61
13.80

20.67

16.56
21.30
18.93

15.54
20.57
16.79
18.89
22.26
21.35
23.57
19.85

21.37


$-.50
3.23
5.31
-1.05
1.75

4.80

2.81

10.91
5.12
8.01

4.84

9.32
9.51
10.28
9.53
9.66

14.47

11.59
14.91
13.25

10.88
14.40
11.75
13.22
15.58
14.95
16.50
13.90

14.96


$-.29

1.85
3.03
-.60
1.00

2.74

1.60

6.23
2.93
4.58

2.77

5.32
5.43
5.88
5.44
5.51

8.27

6.62
8.52
7.57

6.21
8.23
6.71
7.56
8.90
8.53
9.43
7.94

8.55




Aledo






II. Dark soils with noncalcare-
ous subsoils


III. Brownish-yellow soils with
open, noncalcareous
subsoils


IV. Dark soils with open, non-
calcareous subsoils






V. Dark soils with impervious,
calcareous subsoils
joliet


VI. Dark soils with impervious,
noncalcareous subsoils
Carthage








Average


VII. Sandy loams and sands
Oquawka


VIII. Yellow soils with noncal-
careous subsoils


Enfield


Average


IX. Gray soils with impervious,
noncalcareous subsoils


Toledo


Odin


Raleigh


21.77
20.81
28.85
26.62
23.01

22.24


15.24
14.57
20.19
18.63
16.11

15.57


8.71
8.32
11.54
10.65
9.20

8.90


Sparta


Newton






X. Hilly land
Elizabethtown . .



1 See page 346.



1934}



RESPONSE OF ILLINOIS SOILS TO LIMESTONE



351



the fields. At the higher prices there is a margin on practically all
fields.

The ton-values of the limestone used on these fields at the medium
prices for the crop increases are shown graphically in Fig. 26. These
values vary more consistently with the natural level of soil produc-
tivity than do the acre-values shown in Fig. 25. The spread between
the various soil groups in the ton-values of the limestone applied is




12 Y 3ZI

SOIL GROUPS

FIG. 26. TON- VALUES OF LIMESTONE AS MEASURED BY CROP INCREASES
The value of limestone in these experiments tended to vary more con-
sistently with the natural productivity level of the soil than did the acre-values
(Fig. 25). The less productive soils have given large returns for each ton of
limestone used. (Based on medium crop prices.)



also somewhat greater than the spread between the acre-values. The
relative differences between the ton-values in the manure system and
those in the residues system are similar to the differences shown for
the acre-values in the two systems. The striking fact about these re-
sults is that each ton of limestone has, as an average, produced crop
increases worth more than the cost of the limestone ; and that on the
less productive light-colored soils the net returns per ton of limestone
have been four to five times as great as the investment made.

Problems of Economic Worth

The economic advantages accruing from the use of limestone, or
any other fertilizer material for that matter, may be considered from
three points of view ; namely,



352 BULLETIN No. 405 [June,

1. The crop point of view; that is, the effect of lime in increas-
ing crop yields.

2. The fertilizer point of view ; that is, the margin remaining
after the costs of using the limestone have been deducted from the
value of the increased yields.

3. The farm point of view; that is, whether, even with increases
from the use of limestone, a margin of profit for the farm as a whole
remains after all farming expenses have been cared for.

The effectiveness of limestone in increasing crop yields has been
amply demonstrated on many Illinois soils. The money returns from
increased yields resulting from the use of limestone have, on many
soils, been large enough to cover all the costs involved in making the
limestone applications and leave margins of varying size.

The fact that a fertilizer may produce large increases in yields or
striking money returns per ton of limestone or per acre of crops does
not necessarily mean, however, that it can make farming profitable
on some soils. The yields without limestone may be so low that any
possible increases that might result from the use of limestone would
not bring the yields up to a point that would enable a farmer to pay
all the expenses of his farm and realize a satisfactory margin of
profit. On the Sparta and Odin fields, for example, increases from
limestone were excellent, yet the total yields were so small that at
ordinary price-levels the total income from such land would not cover
even the bare expenses of farming. On the Mt. Morris field, on the
other hand, where yields without limestone are high enough to make
farming profitable under normal price conditions, increases that were
small compared with the Sparta and Odin increases would still be
large enough to contribute measurably to further profits.

Thus sizable increases from fertilizers may lead one to false con-
clusions about their practical value unless note is taken of the basic
yields of the soil without fertilizer treatment.

RELATION OF LIMESTONE TO VARIOUS
SOIL PRODUCTIVITY FACTORS

The implications involved in such proverbial phrases as "a lime-
stone country is a rich country," led early investigators to believe that
limestone could be applied to any soil in any amount without adverse
influences except in the matter of unnecessary expense. Such ideas
prevailed at the time many of the Illinois soil experiment fields were
established. Consequently the plans developed for the use of lime-


1 2 4

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