Response of wheat, triticale and barley to lime application in semi-arid soils

De Liu, K.R. Helyar, Mark Conyers, R. Fisher, G.J. Poile

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    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Field experiments were conducted on four acid soils which were typical of the eastern section of the cropping region in southeastern Australia. The response of three cereal varieties to application of limestone or elemental S was measured as a function of soil pH. The cereals were selected to cover the known range of tolerance to acidity: Triticale (×Triticosecale wittmack cv. Currency) (tolerant); wheat (Tritcum aestivum cv. Matong) (moderately tolerant) and barley (Hordeum vulgare cv. Schooner) (sensitive). A two asymptote logistic equation was used to describe the relationship between soil pH and rates of limestone and elemental sulphur. The upper asymptotes for the four sites were well below the pH of lime saturation as the agriculturally practiced rates of lime were lower than the rates that could achieve the maximum pH in the field. The same equation was used to fit higher rates of lime application to a similar soil type to one of the four sites in this study and resulted in an upper asymptote of 7.26. Crop yield responses to lime application were well described by soil pHCa (0.01 M CaCl2). Soil pHCa ranges which gave 95% of maximum yield were pHCa 4.3'5.6 for Matong wheat, 4.4'4.8 for Currency triticale and 4.7'5.8 for Schooner barley. It was found that rainfall played an important role in limiting the yield response of crops to lime application. Lime reaction, lime requirement and grain yield models should include rainfall and soil water content as these influence the rate and extent of dissolution of limestone and subsequent plant response in a semi-arid environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-301
    Number of pages15
    JournalField Crops Research
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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