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New product corrects soil acidity

March 19, 2010

October 28, 2009, 2:35pm

Soil acidity is a common problem in many crop areas in the Philippines, especially among growers of crucifers (cabbage and the like) in upland vegetable areas. For soil nutrients and fertilizers to be effectively taken in by plants, a certain level of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity is required.

Most crops thrive on slightly acidic soils with pH levels of 5.0 or higher but soils in many areas are too acidic as a result of continuous planting, heavy use of chemical fertilizers and erosion. Such practices and factors deplete natural elements such as calcium and magnesium that neutralize soil acidity, causing stunted plant growth and susceptibility to pests and diseases.

Usually, farmers resort to applying agricultural lime at a rate of 40 sacks or around two metric tons per hectare to address their soil acidity problems. This burdensome practice, however, is not sufficient to correct the soil’s pH level. Experts recommend a few more truckloads of about 100 to 200 sacks of agricultural lime to bring the pH level of the soil to an ideal level. As processed calcium compounds quarried from limestone deposits, agricultural lime takes a long time to react and neutralize the soil’s acidity. Thus, conventional liming is done before each planting season and only takes full effect in time for the next planting season.

In line with its thrust of partnering Filipino faarmers, Jardine Distribution, Inc. (JDI), a company distributing agricultural chemicals, has introduced Limelite as a convenient alternative to this tedious task of soil conditioning. Limelite is an organic water-soluble calcium powder that gives the same benefit of conventional liming but with relatively a lot less needed, takes effect immediately and is easier to apply. As opposed to the truckloads of agricultural lime usually applied by farmers, only 2.4 kilograms per hectare of Limelite is needed to provide the same soil conditioning effect.

As an ionized solution, Limelite quickly reacts with the soil to neutralize its acidity and increasing the soil’s pH level. Limelite’s water-soluble formulation allows it to be applied through spraying and is therefore more convenient than the troublesome chore of applying truckloads of agricultural lime.

Trials have shown Limelite’s consistent efficacy in increasing the soil’s pH level and improving crop stand to generate better yield and is positioned in the market as the alternative to laborious and more expensive conventional liming. Product launches are held in key vegetable areas targeting crucifer growers where conventional liming is practiced the most.

As the challenge lies on changing the farmers’ age-old practice of  conventional liming, the features of Limelite on convenience and efficacy are stressed during presentations and in all other activities and materials. Continuing farmer education through JDI’s field activities are likewise employed to generate awareness and eventually expand Limelite’s usage I in other crops.

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