Cutting The Curve Podcast: Choosing the Right Lime for Your Farm
22 Nov 2319 min 9 sec

In this episode of Cutting The Curve, Kevin shares his experience of switching to lime sourced from coastal areas or even from out of state. Understand why simply correcting soil pH isn't enough. Learn about the crucial calcium to magnesium ratio and its effect on soil composition. Matthews Farms observed immediate improvements in their fields after this change. How can the right lime can lead to balanced soils, enhanced porosity, increased organic matter, and more efficient fertilizer use. Remember, your closest lime source is not always your best lime source.

Presented by Loveland Products

00:00 Your closest lime source is probably the wrong lime source. That's the discussion today 00:04 with Kevin Matthews of Extreme Ag. Welcome to Extreme ags Cutting the Curve podcast, where we cut your learning curve 00:11 with insights you can apply immediately to your farming operation. This episode is presented by Loveland products. 00:18 When it comes to crop inputs, you need products that are field proven to deliver both results and value. For more than 50 years, 00:26 Loveland products has been providing farmers with high performance value-driven product solutions designed to maximize productivity on every acre. 00:34 Visit loveland to see how their innovative products can help you farm more profitably. 00:40 And now here's your host, Damien Mason. Hey there. Welcome to another fantastic episode of Extreme Acts Cutting the Curve. 00:46 We've got Kevin Matthews on. I gotta tell you, dear listeners and viewers, this is a topic I've been trying 00:51 to get in the can for almost a year. Now, one of our discussions on a webinar, and if you're not tuning in, you should every, every month, 00:59 the first Thursday month, we have an extreme Ag webinar. Highly interactive, highly informative, 01:03 and one of those webinars, Kevin Matthews said, your closest Lyme source is probably the wrong Lyme source. I wrote that down and I've been saying for a long time, Hey, 01:12 we gotta get this in the can because that fascinated me. You think about putting tons 01:16 and tons of this stuff on, you're gonna probably say it's a lot to truck tons. So let's go ahead and grab the closest 01:21 line and put it on a field. And Kevin says, that's exactly what you should not do. And I said, why is that? 01:26 So we're bringing that information to you, Kevin, in a nutshell, why do you say, why did you say in that webinar that stuck with me 01:32 and I wrote it down, your closest lime source is probably the wrongly source. Well, generally, if your problem is you're too acidic 01:40 or you know, too low pH or too high pH, the soil's closest to you has got the same problems. 01:46 So if you're putting this the line from that, then you're not offsetting things as well. And our situation, we're high magnesium soils. 01:55 Our closest lime source is matic lime. Well, we do not need magnesium, even though we do need to bring our pH up so it won't be acidic 02:03 because we're typically low. So we get cal acidic lime, and it's that calcium to magnesium ratio that what we're looking at. 02:15 And we like to have about, you know, we wanna be about a six to one, eight to one calcium to mag is 02:21 what we would prefer to be. But our soils are naturally sometimes inverted. Uh, it's, you know, it's not a good situation where it's, 02:31 the mag is so tight, it makes your clay so tight. By the way, you didn't think that you, that I was out here writing down stuff that you said, I've, 02:42 I've been carrying this around now for like eight or nine months. Anyway, um, it struck me 02:47 because, you know, I'm from a place where there's tons of limestone. We have a limestone quarry, 02:52 and I'm sure that most of the lime that gets put on fields around me comes from that limestone quarry 02:55 that's just, you know, a few miles away. And, you know, it still does the job. Am I not right? I mean, it still does the job of, of correcting the pH. 03:03 It's, it's not that it doesn't do the job of the pH balancing that you want, it's that it doesn't do, it doesn't bring the right mag micros 03:11 or is that what the problem is? Well, Your magnesium in your calcium, and typically most lime sources is either a dogmatic 03:19 or a cal citic lime source. And if your soils are naturally high in calcium, then you're more likely gonna need amatic, 03:26 which is high in magnesium. And if your soils are normally high in magnesium like ours are, then we need the calcium. 03:34 So we go to the coast and I mean, you know, my best friend's up right now and, um, we was just talking and we go down to his place 03:42 and get, uh, lime and bring back here. And then he goes up in the mountains where we live and hauls lime to the coast to spread there. 03:50 'cause he needs the mag. By the way. That's, so let's, that's something I don't think most people consider, and I'm, I'm just, it's not that they're wrong. 03:58 'cause the, the purpose of the Lyme when we started doing this was to correct your pH level. 04:02 It's not that it doesn't do that, it's, it doesn't do these other things. So you get less benefit. 04:08 Do you get less effectiveness if it's, since you're high magnesium, if you grab the nearest lime source 04:14 and it didn't correct the magnesium to calcium ratio, it will still do the job of correcting the pH. But it, what, what do you miss? 04:22 I guess, what thing do you miss? Right. So, so in my situation, what it's gonna do is make our clay soils much tighter, 04:29 and there's gonna be less ability for the water to infiltrate the soils and create that big sponge effect. It's also gonna make it harder for the roots to grow 04:39 through the soil, because the clay bonds together. It's such a strong bond and it's just like glue. And when we add that calcium in there, it's, 04:49 it's just fluffier. It's just more air, more air in the soil. Oxygen in the soil, the water, 04:56 the capillaries is easier for water movement. And you don't have the compaction, you know, for years we're putting matic lime out and then we're coming in 05:05 and ripping, trying to get rid of the compaction, and then we got red claws. The reason we got claudes is 05:11 because of that, that clay is bound together so darn tight. And so, 05:17 So, so what's interesting there, and you know, when you're thinking about this forever, we've, we've sinned against our soils by over tilling. 05:24 And then the answer was, well, let's just rip up all the compassion layer. And the thing is, maybe you wouldn't have to be doing 05:30 that if, if you created the porosity and with the, and nobody thinks of lime as being a component to reduction of compaction. 05:40 You know what I mean? This is kind of like a new way of thinking. It is. And you know, your, your plants, your root system 05:46 of your plants is gonna, if it's got a easy path, I mean, everything is gonna go with the least path of resistance. 05:53 So if you don't have the compaction there and, and you're using the correct lime sources, you're using correct fertilizers, 05:59 doing everything the best of your ability, right? Then those big crops, those big massive root systems are going to get rid of 06:07 that hard pan. You're not going to have it. That's why the cover crops are such a success and in our areas now, you know, 06:14 other areas up north, I can't comment on that. I don't farm there, but it, it works here. It's a systems approach. 06:20 Another thing about that pH is you really wanna, you really want that pH number. You know, we're fortunate, we're low. 06:28 It's easier to build it than it is to bring it down. It's, it's a chore. You got a eight pH and you're trying to bring it down, that's a chore. 06:35 But we're typically gonna be in the fives to may. We might get lucky and find some six naturally, however, when we get that, we wanna bring it up 06:44 to about a six five because, you know, we enjoy seeing our fertilized salesman do well, but I don't want 'em to do that well off me. 06:52 Right? So, you Know, okay, so if you can make the case that, that the, the, the using the right Lyme then not only is a compaction 07:02 buster because of, like you said, getting the right calcium magnesium ratio, um, then you're also gonna, making the case that 07:11 using the right lime source can reduce your fertilizer bill Using the correct lime source 07:18 to get the correct most balanced pH that you're able to obtain opens more natural elements, minerals in your soils that keep you from having 07:28 to buy it in a bag. Okay. That's, that's interesting by the way. Uh, I want to, uh, remind you, uh, listeners that, uh, 07:36 now more than ever, you've gotta squeeze every penny's worth of available nutrients out of every acre. 07:40 You farm. Tighten XC from level one products improves nutrient availability and increases plant uptake. So you get the most from your dry fertilizer investment. 07:48 We're talking about fertility right now. Remember, if you use Titan xc, that's a fertilizer treatment. 07:53 It will help you get more bang for your fertilizer buck. Fertilizer's gonna be pricing up. 07:57 I just talked about this with somebody. The Mississippi River is dry, barge traffic is being controlled. 08:01 There might be a little bit of a reduction in fertilizer, which means gonna be higher prices. You wanna maximize your fertilizer investment, use Titan xc, 08:08 go to loveland, learn more. Okay, here's the thing that somebody right now is thinking like me. 08:15 Um, does this mean that I've gotta go on a, on a quest to find lime further away? It, it's not a matter of how far away it is, it's just 08:24 that it has to have the right component, meaning it's, it comes down to the magnesium or calcium. So if I find out that I've got a Cal CITIC soil, 08:32 I wanna find a magnesium lime source. And, and I don't know that that's something that the Lyme people go around touting 08:38 It. It's not, you know, when I'm looking at soil samples, uh, it don't matter if I'm looking at 'em in South Dakota, Iowa, 08:44 right here in North Carolina, the first thing I look at is I wanna see the pH and I wanna see the calcium, 08:50 the mag ratio, and then I like to see what my organic matter and my CECs are. 08:56 The organic matter in the CECs is very hard to change and you absolutely can change it. We've been successful in doing that. 09:03 But the easiest things to change is that calcium, the GRA ratio and that pH, if you got low pH, if you got real high phs, you can still change it, 09:12 but it's more of a challenge. So you gotta have the right products there to do it. But there's, you really need to focus on that pH first off 09:22 and see where you are and then see what options you have. And then look at that calcium, calcium to mag ratio. 09:28 You said the closest line source, probably your wrong Lyme source. And then most people are listening to this might say, 09:33 oh crap, I hadn't even thought of this. It it, we talked about the f calcium magnesium. I Said the same thing I said when I heard it the first time, 09:40 I thought, goodness gracious. Yeah. Well the answer me this, when you can, you get samples from different Lyme. 09:46 In other words, could I call a quarry in Ohio and say, send me a sample or tell me what you're, you know, because I've got this problem. 09:54 Yeah, I have them send a lab analysis that they have because they're gonna guarantee the analysis of their lime to the best of their ability. 10:01 Um, you know, we, we was using Tennessee Lime because it's more Cal City than what, um, it had a lot less mag in it than 10:08 what we had here in Austinville. And Austinville has got a great, great lime source if you need that. 10:13 It's just not what we need. And so then we was getting some out of Virginia, and then now we're getting it, uh, from Wake Stone out of, 10:21 uh, South Carolina and right there at Myrtle Beach. And you know, c it's amazing. It, it kind of, if you ever, you know, 10:28 if you ever pay attention how fast the sand dries out, when the, when the, uh, ocean, when the waves come up on the shore and then they go back 10:36 and, you know, it just dries right back out. That's how that line does. You get a shower of rain on and it dries out 10:41 and you just go right back to spread and it spreads. Beautiful. What about the skeptic that's, listen to this, that says, 10:48 you know what, I think this is not worth all the fooling around. Kevin's paying all that massive amount of trucking 10:54 to bring lime in from another state. I don't, I don't see the value to the person that says that. What's your response? 11:01 It was hard for me to decide on that freight myself. But now that we've used it, one of the, uh, very successful farmers here in the area, older gentleman, 11:10 he, he was talking to me, he said it just amazed him now that he is using the correct lime, 11:16 how much less lime he uses versus how he did years ago. He said, used to every other year, I put a ton of the acre on regardless. 11:24 He said, now we're using the correct lime. And said, it seems like we might go five or six years before soil samples are calling for it 11:32 because, you know, we're adding these calcium sources to it and we're keeping everything built up. 11:37 So pretty interesting. You're at, You can make the case that you make up for the freight pretty quickly because by using the right amount, 11:46 you are using less of it. That's correct. Yep. You, you're putting the right product on the right acre. Very important. 11:53 It's interesting. Um, when did you come up with this? Because when you said, it's the first time I'd ever heard it and then I got some other guys with Xa nodding their head. 12:01 I don't think this is something that's been discussed for long and I don't think it's been discussed that much, which is why I wanted to get it recorded. 12:06 Is this, is this, you tell people that other than your buddy that's sector you're gonna go and talk to 12:11 besides him, how many, how many people you think this is all new? Uh, you know, I found out about it. 12:19 I met a guy several years back in the peer group and he, you know, he was, uh, explaining it to me, trying to help me learn better ways to understand the soil samples 12:30 and, uh, and that just his ability to teach it through me really clicked. 12:36 And, um, then about that same time, a guy, Ron Chamberlain come in, he was with Gyps Oil and he was talking to me about Gypsy 12:46 and I was learning about that, and he was really good with soil samples and, and teaching it. 12:51 And, you know, it just kind of clicked. And I started trying it and it got very obvious because our droughts, uh, weren't near as bad on our crops 13:00 where we was using the Calci products versus our matics. And, uh, then you could, 13:07 you could actually tell it just this ground here. When you walk across it, it just feels different. It's interesting. So the person that's, uh, listening 13:15 to this, you've told us, uh, you can get samples. So I mean, most people, if the co-op or the ag retailer says, yeah, you need lime, 13:22 you just go get lime, you're saying go ahead and get some, some proven trial, or I'm sorry, some lab results from a Lyme source elsewhere. 13:31 And then, uh, I think the answer is call your agronomist and whoever that is, 13:35 or whoever you get your agronomic consulting from and demand that they, uh, you know, find you a different Lyme source. 13:42 Uh, and that's, that's probably the, the simplest way to do it because you're saying the payoff is there. Absolutely. Yep. It, 13:49 it's well worth the time and investment. And then, uh, if nothing else, did you, you didn't start full tilt. 13:56 You started doing this on certain acres and you started seeing a result and now you're sold on it. Yeah, and, and you know, another thing that got me was 14:04 historically where you use poultry litter, you have a lot better yields. And we wanna think about the NP 14:12 and K that we're getting from the poultry litter, but what we're forgetting is layer litter is extremely high in calcium. 14:19 And so we're starting to see all this, you know, our GS and our, it's so much better with our peanuts, you know, they use it to get better peanuts. 14:26 And you start learning all this as we get older and we realize, you know, it's almost like aha moment that we, you know, what was we thinking? 14:36 And, uh, if you always do what you've always done, you know what results you're gonna get. 14:40 You need to need to branch out. So if a farmer's using litter chicken litter, it's, they're, they're probably getting the calcium, 14:47 but they're still not getting the, the lime correction, uh, the, the pH correction that Lyme brings. 14:52 Am I right about that? Or does litter almost make it so you wouldn't, does litter reduce the need for Lyme? It does, yeah, no question. 14:59 Uh, the, the layer litter that we have, um, we follow, we have to get, you know, annual soil samples annually to stay in compliance 15:07 and, uh, to make sure we're not overloading anything. And, um, typically with that product, you don't have to use mu add much Lyme 15:18 to keep your pH balanced. It, it does. You can actually get your pH too high with it. You have to be very careful. 15:24 Okay, so if you're using litter thinking, well, this will save me on lime and I don't even need to worry about my closest lime source, 15:29 you can actually overdo it and all of a sudden you're getting, you're getting too basic. Oh, yeah, yeah. You know, I, I've, you know, I bought a, 15:37 one of my neighbor's farm. I bought him his operation 14, 15 years ago. Now it's been longer than that 16 years ago now, Ali, 15:46 and, um, we'll say 15, that sounds better, Damien. But, uh, the, um, the one thing, he was real, he was a huge proponent on Lyme and nomadic climate. 15:57 That, and when we started farming, the PHS was 7.2 to 7.6 and, and we had to get that pH down in that six five range, 16:06 and that's when it started really shining. And so we used a lot of gypsum at that time and step because we didn't need lime. 16:14 Yeah, we, you know, our pH was too high, but we needed calcium, so we used the gypsum product there. Okay, so you got the calcium that didn't 16:20 bring the lime, et cetera. All right, get me out here. What else do I need to know? You, you brought this up almost a year ago. 16:26 I wrote it down closest Lime source is probably your wrong Lyme source. Uh, you've told us how to go about doing it. 16:32 You said that the, the freight is justified 'cause usually you're using less of it. Talked about the com, uh, the compatibility with 16:38 or without, if you're using litter, uh, you said that the benefit of using the right ly source is then all of a sudden your soil is in 16:45 balance, I think is the big thing. 'cause then you said your fertility moves, your compaction is not much of an issue. 16:50 You've got porosity. So I, I'm trying to think if there's anything I missed. I think you pretty well hit it. You just need 16:56 to get out in the field and get you soil samples and get 'em sent off and, and get where your agronomists and, and, uh, get a plan together 17:06 and go to action. Uh, this a big one here is when I said you started doing this, you know, say a decade 17:11 or so ago, you saw results pretty quickly. That's the thing. I mean, this isn't, a lot of times we talk about it's gonna take 17:16 you a while to do this. We're gonna take you a while to do this. This one's pretty much within a year 17:21 or two, you start seeing the benefit, the payback. Yeah. You'll start seeing it, it see it, it depends on what your situation is. 17:28 For us, with the high mags switching to calcium, it, it started showing pretty quick. Got it. So yeah, you're, you're, you're not gonna have 17:34 to wait around forever to see the results. His name's Kevin Matthews, one of the founders of Extreme Ag. 17:39 If you are new to watching or listening to this, I wanna encourage you to go check out more 17:45 or follow us on Facebook and or Twitter. Hundreds of videos that guys like Kevin are shooting out in the field. 17:52 He's just done with Harvest. We're recording this mid-November. He is gonna be blowing off his combine 17:56 and I, an idea will come into his head. He'll shoot a video and put it out there. And also you can become an Extreme Ag member 18:02 for only 750 bucks a year. You can watch all these videos and these podcasts for free, but if you wanna take it to the next level, 18:07 you get exclusive content, you get access for question answers with guys like Kevin and the other Extreme Ag guys, 18:12 you also get special offers from our business partners. Like for instance, commodity Classic. You could be going there for free based on 18:19 our partnership with nature. So these are all the kinds of things you get if you become a member. 18:22 Extreme Ag dot Farms, the website, go and check out all the videos, check out the hundreds of podcasts we've recorded, 18:28 and also consider becoming a member for just seven $50 investment per year. You get a lot of great benefits, you'll make 18:34 that money back in spades. Here's Kevin Matthews. I'm Dave Mason, so next time. Thanks for being here, buddy. Appreciate it. 18:40 That's a wrap for this episode of Extreme Eggs Cutting the Curve, but there is plenty more available 18:45 by visiting Extreme Ag Farm. For over 50 years, farmers have turned to the proven lineup of crop inputs offered by Loveland products, 18:54 from seed treatments, plant nutrition, adjuvant, and crop protection products. Loveland has the complete lineup 19:00 to keep your farming operation productive, and most importantly, profitable. Check out loveland to learn more.

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