Effects of sugarbeet processing precipitated calcium carbonate on crop production and soil properties.
Precipitated calcium carbonate lime is a byproduct of sucrose extraction at sugarbeet processing factories in Idaho. Each year 351,000 Mg of this lime is produced and stockpiled at sugarbeet factories. There is currently no viable disposal strategy for this material and these piles continue to grow in size each year. The simplest solution would be to apply this PCC directly to agricultural fields each year, however the effects of PCC on high pH soils and southern Idaho crop rotations are not well understood. Due to high amounts of lime production (351,000 Mg year-1), dA study was conducted at the USDA-ARS laboratory in Kimberly, ID to determine the effects of PCC application to an alkaline silt loam soil on sugarbeet, dry bean and barley production and soil properties. Three PCC treatments (rate and timing) and an untreated control were compared. The PCC had no effects on crop production factors and most soil properties. The only significant effect of PCC treatments was an increase in soil phosphorus (P) concentrations compared to the control. The PCC can serve as a P fertilizer. For all crops in this study, PCC was applied at rates that resulted in applied P levels that were 1.6 to 5.3 times greater than even the highest published recommended P rates. Compared to the control, bicarbonate soil P concentrations increased by 25% and 73% for the final PCC application amounts of 26.9 kg ha-1 (6.7A treatment) and 89.7 kg ha-1 (6.7A and 89.7T treatments), respectively. The PCC used in this study can safely be applied (at rates up to 87.9 kg ha-1) to heavier textured alkaline soils in the local growing area. Disposing of PCC in this way is a viable strategy for reducing PCC stockpiles.