Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
Eneli Viik
Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge (METK)
Phone: +372 5269643

Liming measure




One of the objectives of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to bolster environmental care and climate action and to contribute to the environmental and climate objectives of the EU. In Estonia, a SWOT analysis showed that increasing soil organic carbon is needed to contribute to the climate change mitigation.

Soil is the largest organic carbon pool in the terrestrial biosphere and acidity is one of the reasons why soil organic carbon declines. According to Agricultural Research Centre of Estonia, there is a strong correlation between soil acidity and organic carbon: in areas where the soil is acidic, the soil organic carbon content is lower. Consistent agricultural practices through liming could enhance the ability of soils to store carbon.

Considering the above mentioned a workgroup proposed that liming should be implemented as a result-based measure.

As European Commission did not approve the proposed measure as result-based, liming was merged with support for environmentally friendly management and is planned as activity-based payment.

Liming (photo: Ahti Nurm)
Liming (photo: Ahti Nurm)

Location of the scheme

whole country

Agricultural land where before the liming:

  • the pHKCl of mineral soils is up to 5.5 or
  • the pHKCl of mineral soils is 5.6-6.5 and the available calcium content in the soil is less than 1500 mg/kg.

The support cannot be applied for semi-natural habitats and for the planned measure for valuable grasslands.

Duration of the scheme

Since: Will not be applied as proposed result-based measure
Until: Will not be applied as proposed result-based measure

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Other

Climate change mitigation, soil quality

Which indicators are used?

  • Other

pHKCl and available calcium content of the soil

Targets for the five-year long support period:

  • in case of correction liming the pHKCl of the soil should increase;
  • in case of maintenance liming the available calcium content must not decrease.

To measure the achievement of these goals the indicators used are pHKCl and available calcium content of the soil.

Design of scheme / project

  • Two level Result Based Payments (1/0)

In the planned measure commitments should be taken for a five-year period, which ensures flexibility for farmers to lime and reduce the risk that external factors will hinder the achievement of the result. To ensure that liming has been conducted, soil samples taken before the commitment period will be compared to soil samples taken after liming. Lime is typically applied every few years to agricultural soils to keep soil pHKCl at optimum level. Both correction liming and maintenance liming should be supported. Correction liming should be performed if the pHKCl of mineral soils is below 5.5. As liming must be consistent practice, it is necessary to continue with maintenance liming which is recommended to be done once in three to five years. As the result counts, after liming the pHKCl of the acid soil shall increase. In case of maintenance liming the available calcium content must not decrease.

To avoid CO2 emissions, primarily the use of ash or a mixture of ash and limestone will be required. The use of ash would allow limiting CO2 emissions from liming, as it is predominantly calcium oxide, which does not result in additional emissions. It also contribute to the circular economy by helping to use the by-products and reduce the burden on the environment.

Experiences with result-based measures from other countries show that it is important to increase the knowledge. In the planned liming measure training courses play an important role to ensure consistency of liming and climate impact.

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • Agri Environmental Measures of CAP

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Based on the costs of management actions

The costs of transport, spreading of lime fertilizer, soil sampling and the cost of lime fertilizer per hectare is taken into account.

Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?

  • No

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Other

Compulsory training

The applicant must take part in a compulsory training about liming during the first commitment year.

Contact person

Sandra Salom

Ministry of Rural Affairs