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Author Topic: Spreading lime by hand  (Read 622 times)


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Spreading lime by hand
« on: May 08, 2020, 05:22:18 pm »
When we first moved here, we had professional soil analysis done, which said we needed to spread 2 tonnes of lime per acre, split over 2 or 3 years.

Every year, I'd approach either one of our farming neighbours or a contractor and ask if they'd do it for me, and every year I'd either get a 'no, too busy', or a 'yes, of course, I'll get right back to you'.... which of course never happened.

So, this year it was clearly time to take matters into our own hands.

Being an engineer, I came up with all sorts of different spreader ideas - things that could be towed behind the landrover or trailer, but in the end we went for something far simpler: us!  ;D

So, just in case this is helpful to others, here are the steps we just went through:

1) Picked up two 600kg bags of calcifert granulated lime from a local depot using my trailer. This cost £170.

The reason for using this was because it reputedly has more effect than chipped limestone per unit weight spread, and seemed like an easier thing to do by hand. It's too early to know how effective it actually is of course - watch this space....

2)  Calculated the area of each field, from google maps, using this tool.
3) Measured the height up the bags and marked off roughly every 100kg with a permanent marker.
4) Worked out from the soil sample results how much we wanted to spread on each field.
5) Waited for a day with the fields dry, but a bit of rain forecast
6) Drove into the field, and started spreading!

We tried a number of different methods for this. The best was to take a bucket full of calcifert, and then spread it literally by hand. The best technique was to hold the bucket in one hand, and then (wearing long gloves and a dust mask), reach in and cast a handful each step walked. Then, when the bucket was half empty, turn round and spread back to the trailer. Once we'd spread a bucket's worth in all directions (it's easy to see where you've been and where you haven't), we just moved the car and trailer to the next spot.

Doing it this way took two of us a couple of hours to spread 1200kg. I think the dream team for this would have been two people with buckets, plus one filling the buckets and driving the car. That really would have been quick.

Of course, it's too early to tell what effect this will have had. However, wearing the correct PPE etc, the job really wasn't anything to be afraid of, and we'll definitely be doing it this way again.

The plan now is to wait a few months or even a year, and then re-test the soil to see what the change in pH has been. Then rinse and repeat until it's as it should be.

HTH!  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Spreading lime by hand
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2020, 06:37:29 pm »
Yep been down that route many years ago for fert, lime and our first reseeding !
Adapt and overcome.


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Spreading lime by hand
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2020, 08:04:38 am »
calcifert works well it is granular and thus relatively easy to spread (we have quad spreader …. not expensive) …   however calcifert doesn't last in soil over more than one or two seasons ….   all farms round here have pH of less than 6 but most of us smallholders just live with it


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oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Spreading lime by hand
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2020, 09:03:57 pm »
One of the big advantages of granular lime is that it spreads well through a normal fertiliser spreader so you don't need someone with a specific lime spreader - much easier to find a neighbour with a fertiliser spreader (or buy yourself a cheap one if you have a tractor to run it).

It didn't take me spreading too many bags of fertiliser & lime to find that the £400 for a new spreader was worthwhile.


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