Calculation of spatially explicit amounts and intervals of agricultural lime applications at county-level in China

Donghao Xu, Qichao Zhu*, Gerard Ros, Zejiang Cai, Shilin Wen, Minggang Xu, Fusuo Zhang, Wim de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Liming is a long-established and widely used agricultural practice to ameliorate soil acidity and improve crop production. Sustainable liming strategies for regional applications require information on both lime requirements and liming intervals given land use and soil dependent acidification rates. We developed a method to optimize lime requirements and liming intervals at regional level. Lime requirements were based on soil pH buffering capacity and liming intervals were estimated by ongoing soil acidity production, derived from major cations and anions balances in cropland systems. About 66% of croplands in Qiyang required liming to raise soil pH to 6.5, with a total lime requirement of 2.4 × 105 t CaCO3, with an average rate of 2.4 t ha−1 for paddy soils and 2.6 t ha−1 for upland soils. The remaining 34% were mainly calcareous soils. Nutrient management practices and crop rotations, affecting N transformation and crop removal, were the main drivers controlling the spatial variation in total acid production in non-calcareous soils, on average contributing 73% and 25%, respectively. Under current soil acidification rates, 33% of Qiyang's croplands would need liming within 30 years after raising the soil pH to 6.5. Averaged liming interval was 20 years, and 6.8 t ha−1 would be required to maintain soil pH ranges between 5.5 and 6.5. Areas with high soil acidification risk were mostly located in the southeast of Qiyang.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150955
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date14 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Lime requirement
  • Liming interval
  • Nitrogen transformations
  • Regional application
  • Soil acidification


Dive into the research topics of 'Calculation of spatially explicit amounts and intervals of agricultural lime applications at county-level in China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this