Agricultural lime for soil conservation and fertility

To mark the 75th anniversary of its founding, the Central Association of the German Agricultural Lime Industry (DHG) within the Association of the German Lime Industry held in Fulda on 27.06.2013 a specialist conference entitled “Sustainable soil conservation and soil fertility using agricultural lime – yesterday – today – tomorrow”. Here, a series of experts discussed current aspects of the conference topics and the importance of lime fertilisers in soil management. The papers read can be viewed on the DHG website at

Professor Dr. Bernhard Carl Schäfer (University of Soest) reported on “Sustainable, efficient crop rotation planning and soil cultivation in arable farming”. He noted that numerous criteria from the fields of economics, ecology and the social sciences need to be taken into account in evaluating sustainability. Good supply of lime appropriate to the particular soil is, as Schäfer stated, a universal requirement.

Professor Dr. Hubert ­Wiggering (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Müncheberg) spoke on “Environmental indicators for multi-functional soil and landscape utilisation”, arguing in favour of comprehensive sustainable land use concepts that integrally include and evaluate the various sustainability criteria. This is intended to result in a “Charter for sustainable agriculture”.

Gergely Tóth, from the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the EU ­Commission’s Joint Research ­Centre (JRC; reported on “The European System of Soil Data and the Relevance for Soil Protection”. A “soil network” at EU level is to contribute to sustainable soil conservation and to the maintenance of soil fertility.

Jakob Opperer, President of the Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture, examined the “Significance of soil conservation for crop production and water quality”. Citing practical examples, he illustrated just how important and comparatively easy soil conservation can be in agricultural practice.

In his paper, entitled “Precision liming - best harvest”, Peer Leithold (Agri Con) showed that supply of lime to the soil is frequently deficient on many arable farms.

Alexander Hufgard, Chairman of the DHG, provided an overview of the at least 2000 year use of agricultural lime by farmers and the nearly 150 years of the history of the German lime organisations. He emphasised that the tasks of the DHG in providing expert advice and disseminating knowledge on the subject of agricultural lime continue to be of importance in the present day. At the close of the event, Hufgard appealed to all participants to take soil acidification just as seriously as erosion and soil compaction, and to combat all three consistently.


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