Estimating lime requirements for tropical soils: Model comparison and development
Acid tropical soils may become more productive when treated with agricultural lime, but optimal lime rates have yet to be determined in many tropical regions. In these regions, lime rates can be estimated with lime requirement models based on widely available soil data. We reviewed seven of these models and introduced a new model (LiTAS). We evaluated the models’ ability to predict the amount of lime needed to reach a target change in soil chemical properties with data from four soil incubation studies covering 31 soil types. Two foundational models, one targeting acidity saturation and the other targeting base saturation, were more accurate than the five models that were derived from them, while the LiTAS model was the most accurate. The models were used to estimate lime requirements for 303 African soil samples. We found large differences in the estimated lime rates depending on the target soil chemical property of the model. Therefore, an important first step in formulating liming recommendations is to clearly identify the soil property of interest and the target value that needs to be reached. While the LiTAS model can be useful for strategic research, more information on acidity-related problems other than aluminum toxicity is needed to comprehensively assess the benefits of liming.