UACES Facebook Limestone Quality Calculator

Limestone Quality Calculator

Forage and Pasture 
Limestone Quality Calculator

Instructions to  Download program

1.  Download pasture2.exe to C:\Windows\temp or your selected folder.

2. Select Start from the task bar, and select Run. Select the browse button and browse to C:\windows\temp\ Double-click on and the Win-Zip Self-Extractor screen appears.

4. Select the UNZIP button. Select the area where you want the files unzipped to. Select OK.

5. Select the CLOSE button.


This program will calculate the Effective Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (ECCE) and the Effective Neutralizing Material (ENM) for two different agricultural limestone products. It will also calculate the cost effectiveness of each lime product on the basis of the liming value per ton.

Information Needed:

You must have lime test results from the lime vendor for the percent Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (CCE) and the percent of limestone material that passes through 10, 60, and 100 mesh sieves. Cost per ton of the lime product is also needed for calculating the cost effectiveness of the product.

Input the test values for the CCE, the percentage of material passing each sieve size, and the product price in the cells where indicated on the spreadsheet.

How to Use the Information From This Program

Limestone quality and price vary among vendors making it difficult for producers to determine which product is the best or most cost effective material. Below are guidelines for comparing quality and cost of various limestone materials. Lime vendors in Arkansas have their product tested by the Arkansas State Plant Board for the percentages of material that passes through 10, 60, and 100 mesh sieves and for the percent Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (CCE).

The CCE refers to the relative purity of the limestone rock. The fineness of grind refers to the speed of reaction of the limestone with soil acidity. Finer ground products react more quickly with acidity and increase the soil pH faster than coarsely ground products. Limestone particles larger than 10 mesh have essentially no liming value. Particles between 10 and 60 mesh average about 40% liming value and particles finer than 60 mesh have 100% liming value.

Example: A liming material has a CCE of 90%. The test shows that 90% passes through a 10 mesh sieve, 40% through a 60 mesh sieve, and 25% through a 100 mesh sieve. The amount of this material retained within each sieve range, the neutralizing efficiency factor of each particle size, and the effectiveness rating for each particle size range are shown below.

Limestone Sample 1

% CCE = 90%

Cost = $22 / ton

Mesh sieve size

% material passing 
this sieve size
























Particle Size Ranges

 % of Material Retained  by Each Sieve


 Efficiency Factor


 Effectiveness  Rating

Coarser than 10 mesh


multiplied by




10 - 60


multiplied by




60 -100


multiplied by




Finer than 100 mesh


multiplied by




Effective Rating of Product



Finely ground limestone is more effective at neutralizing soil acidity than coarsely ground limestone assuming similar CCE content. A simple calculation for comparing quality of liming materials is to calculate the Effective Liming Material (ELM)of each lime product. The ELM takes into account the fineness of grind as well as the Calcium Carbonate Equivalent of the product.

To do this, multiply the CCE of the lime by the Effectiveness Rating that was calculated as shown above. For example, a material having 90% CCE and an Effectiveness Rating of 0.60 would have an ELM percentage of 54% (0.90 x 0.60 x 100 = 54%). On a ton basis this limestone would contain 1080 lbs. of ELM. Another limestone product having a CCE of 85% and an Effectiveness Rating of only 0.50 would have an ELM percentage of 42.5% (0.85 x 0.50 x 100 = 42.5%) and would contain only 850 lbs. of ELM per ton. The material with the higher ELM per ton will neutralize more soil acidity.

Cost-effectiveness is also important when choosing a liming material. One lime product may have a higher ELM, but also may have a higher cost. The product with the lowest cost per pound of ELM material is the best buy since a pound of ELM material will neutralize the same amount of acidity regardless of the source. The best way to determine the best buy when comparing two sources of lime is to calculate the cost per pound of ELM. This can be done by simply dividing the cost per ton in cents by the lbs. of ELM per ton as shown below.


Sample 1

Sample 2

Price per ton (spread on the field)



ELM per ton



Price per lb. ELM

2.03¢ (2200/1080)

2.12¢ (1800/850)

In this example Sample 1 is the best buy. It is cheaper per pound of ELM even though it has a higher cost per ton.

Producers near the Missouri border may have an option to purchase lime from vendors in either Arkansas or Missouri. In Missouri, Effective Neutralizing Material (ENM) values are used to compare quality of limestone sources. The calculation for determining the amount of ENM per ton is similar to the calculation for ELM per ton. ENM is calculated by multiplying the percent ELM as shown previously by 800 which is a constant that refers to the amount of effective calcium in one ton of pure lime.

For example a limestone with an ELM percentage of 54% would have an ELM of 1080 lbs. per ton but would have an ENM value of 432 lbs. per ton (800 x 0.54=432). Another sample of ag lime having an ELM of 45% would have an ENM value of 360. Both ENM and ELM are simply calculated values that can be used to rank limestone products for soil acidity neutralizing value. The limestone product with the highest value for ELM or ENM is the best quality ag lime.

Developed by
Dr. John Jennings, Extension Livestock Specialist - Forages
Mr. Shane Gadberry, Assistant Livestock Specialist

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