The benefit of liming Irish soil is well known and was one of the earliest soil management practices that farmers adopted to improve the productivity of soils. It is no different today, as managing soils to keep them in the optimum soil pH, through regular soil testing offers many benefits. Only 12% of Irish soils are at an optimal level for soil pH, P & K.
The benefits of lime are;
- Increased grass production annually
- Increased production
- Release up to 80kg/N/ha/year
- Unlock soil phosphorous (P) and potassium (K)
- Increase the response to freshly applied N, P & K
- Liming gives a 7:1 return on investment
As you can see from the diagram the top 6 nutrients required for plant growth are most available in the pH range from 6.0-7.5.
Which Lime to Use?
The most common ground lime used in Ireland is calcium lime, however the importance of a broad spectrum soil test is critical on choosing which lime to use. Drummonds provide a concise accurate soil test carried out by your local advisor, giving back useful and practical advice on how to correct your soil analysis. A desired calcium:magnesium ratio of 10:1 is required for optimal grass growth and up to 14:1 in tillage soils. Use magnesium lime where magnesium deficiencies need correcting.
In soils where there are high levels of magnesium, use calcium limestone to balance our desired ratio. Applying calcium limestone will increase calcium and reduce magnesium.
Even if the pH looks OK you can still apply calcium lime in this situation. 1 ton per acre is sufficient in this situation. This opens up the soil allowing it to breathe, soil biology to flourish and water to drain down through the soil profile more easily.
Lime needs to be applied on a regular basis as it is continuously leached from the soil, mainly through drainage water. The use of N fertilizers and the removal of crops and livestock also remove lime from the soil.
- Drainage losses vary from 250-625 kg/ha/year
- Lime required to neutralize acidity produced by fertilizer N use varies from 180 to 220 kg/ha/year per 100kg N applied as CAN or Urea respectively.
- Optimizing soil pH in grassland can increase grass output by 1T DM/Ha which, according to Teagasc is worth €181/tonne DM in grass.
- Research shows average cereal grain production response of at least 1.5t/ha from lime alone (An extra €210/ha @15% moisture and assuming a price of €140 per ton)
- Lime application gives a 7:1 return on investment.
DELIVERING AND SPREADING LIME AT AFFORDABLE PRICES ACROSS ALL BRANCHES!
Drummonds have always provided a top quality soil testing service and practical advice, which can be carried out by your local branch/ advisor. Drummonds are now taking soil analysis to the next level where we will provide a full soil test analysis as well as providing Drummond’s Ground Lime delivery and Spreading at affordable prices.Both methods of soil sampling can be carried out. Whether it be a standard W- Shaped test or a full field mapping service.
Current regulations require one soil sample per 5 hectares and are valid for 4 years. Aim to test 20% of your farm annually.
Please contact your local Drummond’s branch or technical sales advisor for more details.