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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Structure liming reduces draught requirement on clay soil

Blomquist, Jens; Englund, Jan-Eric; Sjöberg, Claes; Kårhammer, Jens; Svensson, Sven-Erik; Pettersson, Erik; Keller, Thomas; Berglund, Kerstin


Liming with 'structure lime', comprising approximately 80-85% ground limestone and 15-20% slaked lime, has been promoted in subsidised environmental schemes in Sweden since 2010 to increase clay aggregate stability and mitigate particulate phosphorus losses to surface waters. To date, approximately 65,000 ha have been structure-limed. Apart from stabilising aggregates, liming may also improve other physical properties, such as soil strength. This study examined the effect of increasing application rate (0-16 t ha-1) of structure lime on soil strength, approximated by horizontal (draught requirement) and vertical (penetrometer resistance) measure-ments, in eight field soils (clay content 26-38%) to which structure lime had been applied two, three, four or six years previously. Draught requirement when cultivating with a multipurpose cultivator significantly decreased (by 11%) with the highest application rate of structure lime (16 t ha-1) compared with an unlimed control. This reduced the wheel power requirement by 7.1 kW and diesel consumption by 1.2-1.4 L ha-1, and lowered CO2 emissions by 3-4 kg ha-1. To clarify the general effect of structure liming, the mean value of all limed treatments was compared with that of the unlimed control. This showed that structure liming in general significantly reduced the draught requirement (by 7%). However, penetrometer resistance measurements revealed no sig-nificant effects of structure liming and no relation between draught requirement and penetrometer resistance measurements. Overall, the results indicate that structure liming can reduce fuel consumption, due to easier soil tillage, and thus lower CO2 emissions.


Structure lime; Draught requirement; Clay; Diesel consumption; CO2 emissions

Published in

Soil and Tillage Research
2023, Volume: 231, article number: 105703