more technical documents are listed at the bottom of this page
Aglime Committee

2017 Illinois Voluntary Limestone Program Producer Information (Limestone Book)


Illinois Agronomy Handbook

Calculating Effective Neutralizing Value (ENV) Using Data From Limestone Book

Aglime Producers in Illinois

(contact info in PDF document)

Dial in Soil pH article from Farm Journal Magazine (Link to Valley View Industries Website)

Request a copy of the Aglime Facts booklet

Another Look at Liming Acid Soils


The IAAP is committed to its partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois Department of Transportation to ensure the products produced and supplied by our members for agricultural use are the best quality available.

The purpose of the Aglime Committee is to

  • Educate the producer membership and Illinois farmers about current specifications and technical issues related to aglime;
  • Monitor and analyze research that may impact the use and applications for aglime; and
  • Provide solutions to technical challenges farmers face do to changes in soil acidity, loss of nutrients and declining crop production.

Committee membership is comprised of producer members--large, medium and small companies selling aglime in Illinois.  Associate members and agency representatives are encouraged to join.


There are four major factors that affect the successful neutralization of soil acidity by agricultural limestone. They are: 1) lime rate: 2) lime purity…compared to pure calcium carbonate …expressed as calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE); 3) lime particle size distribution or fineness of grind; and 4) degree of incorporation or mixing with the soil. 

Soil test laboratories make lime recommendations based on a measurement of soil pH (active acidity) and some indication of soil texture or buffer capacity, which is the resistance to change in soil pH. Most soil testing laboratories usually assume the aglime has a CCE of at least 80 to 90 percent and an excellent fineness of grind (i.e. large majority of particles passing a 50 to 60-mesh sieve). 

Different states have different regulations governing lime quality, and many land grant universities offer guidance in selecting good quality aglime. Often, lime quality is expressed as “effective calcium carbonate equivalent”, “relative neutralizing value”, or “effective neutralizing material.” These expressions involve some consideration and factoring of both lime purity and fineness of grind.

The rate of reaction or the dissolution of lime particles increases as their size decreases. For example, after 3 to 4 years, aglime particles larger than 10 to 15-mesh (about 1 to 1.7 millimeters in diameter) will have dissolved little, while the majority of aglime particles in the 50 to 60-mesh size range will have dissolved. Particles larger than 10 to 15-mesh have little effect on soil acidity, while the smaller, finer-grind particles react rapidly to neutralize soil acidity. It may take twice as long (or longer) for particles between 15 to 30-mesh to react, compared to particles smaller than 50 to 60-mesh (about 250 to 300 micrometers), assuming their purity or CCE is the same.

With the expansion of conservation tillage and no-till systems, there are fewer opportunities to incorporate aglime via plowing or discing. So, lime quality may be even more important in these reduced-tillage systems than in older, traditional tilled systems. 

High crop yields are essential to economic success in farming. Most farmers and crop advisers recognize the importance of managing soil pH at optimum levels in the crop root zone to achieve high yields. When acidity increases to the point that root growth slows, nutrient and moisture uptake are impaired, the function of certain herbicides becomes limited, and yields decline…can one afford to purchase and apply poor to mediocre-quality aglime? 

Because of the recent changes in production costs associated with higher energy costs, farmers and their crop advisers are seeking greater confidence that each input will result in economic benefits. When purchasing and applying aglime to acid soils, it pays to know both the aglime purity and fineness of grind.

From Fall 2006, No. 5, Agri-Briefs, Potash and Phosphate Institute

(Download this article here)


Applying N again this year? Chances are you applied N on the same field last year – that is, if you’re one of the many farmers planting more corn after corn. In the Midwest, much of the additional corn acres are coming from ground that used to be rotated to soybean production every other year. So now, instead of applying N once every 2 years, many are applying N every year.

Nitrogen acidifies the soil. Whether the source is urea or anhydrous ammonia, the acidifying effect is the same. A rule of thumb is that for every 100 lb of N applied, enough soil acidity is produced to require 225 lb of agricultural limestone. Does that mean you need to apply 225 lb? Probably not. But applying N more frequently increases the chances that soils will become more acid more quickly. . . more

From Summer 2008, No. 4, Plant Nutrition Today, International Plant Nutrition Institute

Magnesium is required for crops to capture the sun’s energy for growth and production. Its functions include phosphate metabolism, plant respiration, and activation of enzyme systems. Magnesium can be added to deficient soils by applying Mg-containing fertilizers or dolomitic limestone. Dolomitic limestone contains both Ca and Mg carbonates (for neutralizing value), whereas calcitic limestone contains only Ca carbonate. Availability of Mg is often related to soil pH. Other situations also increase needs for Mg: sandy soils with low cation exchange capacity, low Mg-supplying power, and a high Mg leaching potential; application of calcitic limestone on low Mg soils; crops with high Mg requirements; high application rates of ammonium-N and K; soil test levels below 50 to 100 lb/A exchangeable Mg. 



Mg deficiency in corn 
is expressed with chlorosis
between the veins

Calcium (Ca) is sometimes considered a “low key” nutrient, but it carries a heavy load in plant growth. Calcium availability is adequate for most crops when soils are limed to properly adjust soil acidity. Deficiencies of Ca are most likely to occur on acid, sandy soils from which available Ca has been leached by rain or irrigation water, and on strongly acid peat and muck soil where total soil Ca is low. High exchangeable soil sodium (Na) may depress plant uptake of Ca.


Ca deficient apple

(International Plant Nutrition Institute)

Aglime Education DVD Series

Aglime producers should be interested in a DVD series covering a range of topics including aglime’s impact on root growth & effect on other nutrients; sources of soil acidity including leaching of bases & nitrogen fertilizer; soil pH and yield response; soil analysis & recommendations for application; analysis & testing methods to determine quality; how calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE) value and correction values are calculated; how particle size & CCE affect quality; processing aglime for increased quality; redefining aglime as “not a waste product”; and marketing using tested quality results to demonstrate value. Speakers include Dave Brummer (KSI Laboratories), Bob Hoeft (University of Illinois agronomy professor), Jim Fletcher (Bowser-Morner Testing Laboratories), Tod Eberle (Polydeck Screen Corp.), Robert Jones (Indiana Aglime Council) and Mike Gross (Irving Materials), with each presenting within their area of expertise.  Each speaker’s topic is contained on one DVD in the series which were recorded during the IAAP’s Understanding the Importance of Aglime seminar at the 2014 IAAP Convention. 
The aglime DVD series costs $50.  It’s about 3 hours long and includes supporting materials.  If you wish to order a DVD set, please complete a request using the form HERE.

Links to Websites for Additional Information

Illinois Department of Agriculture's Voluntary Limestone Program

Ag-lime...It's Good for the Environment

Dial in Soil pH article from Farm Journal Magazine (Link to Valley View Industries Website)

Keep a Log of Soil Acidity article

Aglime Council of Indiana

International Plant Nutrition Institute

Aglime, Why Quality Counts (208KB PDF). Aglime is used to neutralize soil acidity, reduce certain toxicities, increase fertilizer efficiency and improve soil physical and biological conditions.

Aglime Basics for Crop Production (103KB PDF). Today's agriculture is all about sustainability.

7 Reasons Why It Is Never A Good Time To Cut Aglime Use (71KB PDF). Is soil acidity robbing you of crop profits?


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