The fertiliser application period reopens in the south east on January 12th and while farmers will be eager to begin spreading chemical fertiliser, it is important to remember that agricultural lime can be applied year-round, as long as conditions are favourable. Agricultural lime is an essential piece of any farmer’s fertiliser plan as regular lime application and soil pH maintenance will increase the utilisation of fertilisers applied to the land.
Regular soil testing should be completed every 3-5 years in order to assist in the maintenance of a good level of soil fertility and grassland productivity. You should heed advice from your advisor on taking the appropriate steps to correct soil pH, if required, following your soil test results. Research conducted by Teagasc has shown that increasing the soil pH from 5.5 to 6.3 can increase the volume of grass production by at least 1 tonne/DM per year. An optimum soil pH also increases the survival of perennial ryegrasses and clover.
Following the application of lime, the soil pH is neutralised which will allow micro-organisms in the soil to break down the organic matter and release the nutrients held in the ground. Through this the productivity of the sward is increased, the soil structure is improved, and healthy plant growth is promoted.
As agricultural lime is regularly lost from the soil through drainage water, crops and livestock, it is important that lime is replenished. Below are some examples of lime offtakes from grassland farming:
|Lime offtakes per year||Kg/ha|
|10,000l of milk or 1 finished beef animal||30|
|150kg Nitrogen (Bag)||300|
|Total lime required||580 to 955kg/ha/year|
As a result, it is good practice to apply lime to an area of the farm annually so that lime losses are not evident and soil fertility and grassland productivity is not adversely affected. By developing a lime application plan with your advisor, regular maintenance of soil pH can be monitored on a farm-scale basis.
The Bennettsbridge Limestone Hi-Calcium Agri Lime has surpassed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine specification for their total neutralising value (TNV). The TNV is a measure of how effective lime is at neutralising the acidity in soil. All lime sold in Ireland has to have a TNV greater than 90% to conform to the Department of Agriculture specification.
Bennettsbridge Limestone are members of Grolime, Ireland’s only agricultural lime quality assurance scheme. All Grolime members are licensed by the Department of Agriculture to manufacture and sell ground limestone for use as a soil conditioner in Ireland.
To learn more about our agricultural lime, click here