A comparison of soil liming requirement methodologies in temperate, Northern European pedo‐climates

Rose Boyko*, Graeme Paton, Robin Walker, Christine Watson, Gareth Norton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Liming agricultural land is essential to optimise crop yield and soil nutrients. Despite the importance of pH management in agricultural soils, liming applications have been decreasing in the United Kingdom for decades. There is no comparison of contemporary and historical liming requirement (LR) methods for Northern European, temperate climate mineral soils high in organic matter (OM). Aims: The aims of this research were to thoroughly comparatively analyse current methodologies and to ascertain which soil characteristics contribute to LR reactions. Methods: Analysis compared methods for determining liming values common in the United Kingdom (Scottish Agricultural College [SAC] look‐up chart, RothLime model), Europe and the United States (Shoemaker–McLean–Pratt, Sikora, Modified Mehlich buffers), and the 30‐min calcium hydroxide titration developed by the University of Georgia. Results: RothLime and SAC highly underestimated the LR value in acidic soils. The buffers highly over or underestimated LRs. The UGA titration method is a cheap, easy and accurate method which could be utilised for high OM soils but requires further calculation development. The characteristics most associated with soil–lime reactions in this experiment were measures of exchangeability (cation exchange capacity and loss on ignition, and by proxy, lime buffering capacity). Conclusions: There is an opportunity to create buffer calculators and titration equations adapted to high OM soils. These are suggested for further development, through a larger diversity of UK soil types grouped by buffering capacity ranges. Including soil exchangeability factors in lime management calculations may contribute to more accurate values and therefore better resource management. Increasing LR accuracy for site‐specific soil pH management, used in precision agriculture technologies, is a necessary tool for the conservation of natural resources like limestone, managing resource use efficiency, and for optimising yields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-553
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
Issue number5
Early online date13 Jul 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - Oct 2023


  • titration
  • acidity
  • buffers
  • RothLime
  • calcium hydroxide
  • soil pH


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