Spring liming of fields completed

Photo by Tom Salzer
Applying lime in West Field

Last fall, we applied 10 tons of pelletized lime to the three main fields at the farm because our soils need some help. A few days ago, we followed up with another application of 10 tons of lime, but this time we used another way to get pelletized lime to the farm.

Last year, we used small fertilizer carts with the capacity to hold two tons of lime per cart. To apply 10 tons last year meant five round trips to Woodburn. Because of a problem with one cart, we made an extra trip last year. We also had a flat tire on one trip, delaying the people waiting at the farm for the full cart to arrive.

This year, we used a “power box” that holds four tons of lime. The power box allowed us to reload the two-ton cart directly at the farm, and the idea was this would reduce the number of trips we’d make to Woodburn. We were also hoping it would make better use of our time at the farm.

So what happened? We left early to pick up a two-ton fertilizer cart and brought that load of lime to the farm (trip 1). The person driving immediately turned around for Woodburn to pick up a power box loaded with four tons of lime (trip 2).

We loaded the emptied fertilizer cart twice from the power box, then made the trip to Woodburn to reload the power box (trip 3). By the time we used up all the pelletized lime, it was dinner time, so we decided to return the two trailers the next day.

First thing in the morning, we returned the power box to Woodburn (trip 4). Returning to the farm, we then hauled the empty fertilizer cart back to Woodburn (trip 5).

Did it really save us trips to do it this way? No. But it did save us quite a bit of trouble, because instead of hooking up the trailer and then swapping it out for an empty with each trip (like we did last year), the power box was left connected to the pickup truck.

This method of applying lime is not particularly efficient because we haven’t been able to configure the application rate to two tons/acre. That means making a second pass in each field, and that takes extra time and fuel.