A long-term trial, known as 'managing acid soils through efficient rotations' (MASTER), commenced in 1992 to develop and demonstrate a cropping system that is economically viable on the highly acid soils of the traditional permanent pasture region in south-eastern Australia, so that their fertility is sustained or improved. There were 2 permanent pasture systems and 2 pasture'crop rotations, each with and without lime. This paper reports the effect of lime on crop production over the first cycle (6 years). On annual pasture'crop rotations, lime significantly increased the dry matter production at anthesis and grain yields of wheat (cv. Dollarbird) compared with the unlimed treatments. Averaged across years from 1992 to 1997 (excluding the severe drought year 1994), wheat crops produced 1.6 t/ha more grain on the limed treatments than on the unlimed treatments (3.6 v. 2.0 t/ha). On perennial pasture'crop rotations, the lime effects varied with crops grown at each phase and year. For example, despite being tolerant of acidity, oats (cv. Yarran) responded to lime in 1996. Likewise, triticale (cv. Abacus) responded to lime in 1997. Wheat (cv. Dollarbird) that is moderately tolerant to acidity responded to lime in phase 6 from 1992 to 1997 excluding 1994 (3.5 v. 1.7 t/ha). Acid-tolerant wheat varieties, triticale, and narrow-leaf lupins are considered the most viable crops for the soil and climatic conditions encountered in this high rainfall (500'800 mm per annum) area of south-eastern Australia.