I know you are supposed to test, but it was so nice the other weekend I just went and bought some and spread it in the front 2 paddocks that I want to graze first. I plan on testing the remaining paddocks.
Spread lime according to soil tests for the most effective and economical results.
Around here, 1.5 to 2.5 tons per acre seems to be the norm for soils that haven't been limed recently.
Recommended rates can vary greatly depending on soil type and previous year's treatments, so applying lime without a test is kinda' like driving with your eyes closed.....getting the desired result is unlikely.
Here it's $40 per ton, delivered in bulk and spread. If you buy it bagged at the feed store and spread it yourself, it runs over $200 per ton.
You really do need to test. If I put down 2 tons per acre every year like some of you do, my pastures would be ruined after a couple of years by being too alkaline. Others do need two tons every year, while I need 1.5 tons every third or fourth year.
There are alkaline soils in Alabama and Mississippi that never need any lime, and in fact lime would be very damaging if applied to them. There's no way to get it right without soil testing.
I do most things myself, but handling and spreading multi tons of lime is not one of them. I make a phone call, put the horses in the barn, open all the gates, and hand the driver a check as he is pulling out. Same goes for fertilizer. Of course it helps to be fairly close to big farming country to have these services at a reasonable cost. I don't think I could save one dollar if I did it myself.
Tom - I don't think you can either - at least not according to my bank account.
I spread pelleted lime on one of my pastures in an attempt to be a good neighbor - a fenceline is shared by a lovely couple who have fabulous gardens and...well.... good fences make good neighbors and all that. Last year he hinted that I killed his potatoes when I sprayed my pastures for weeds.... except that I don't spray for weeds. That's what my goats are for.
Anyhoo.... pelleted lime is expensive. Lordy. I got real cheap real fast and of course.. there is broom sedge growing out there as a result.