03 Jun Take your opportunities to get lime out….
Take your opportunities to get lime out during the spring and summer because conditions don’t always suit in the autumn and you’ve missed another year.
Lime plays a major role in improving the 3 fundamentals of soil health namely,
• Soil chemistry – Fertilizer use efficiency
• Soil physical structural quality – drainage
• Soil biological functioning including earthworm activity etc.
Maintaining the correct lime status of your soils will improve overall soil health and fertiliser use efficiency and in turn improve your crop yields and farm productivity. Increased grass and grain yields of at least 1.5 t/ha are common when soil pH is brought up to the correct level. This represents a return on investment of almost €7 in additional grass yield for each €1 invested in lime, or a 7:1 return.
*As we saw last year, waiting until October to spread lime is risky due to poor weather and un-trafficable soil conditions
Planning your liming programme.
Using every opportunity or window throughout the season to spread lime, if required, is important. As we saw last year, waiting until October to spread lime is risky due to poor weather and un-trafficable soil conditions. Take advantage of low grass cover after silage cuts and plan to have the paddocks that also need lime grazed out at the same time so that lime can be applied to both areas.
Develop a liming programme for the individual fields on your farm. This can be as simple as:
• knowing which fields require lime, ideally based on soil tests
• knowing what rate of lime is to be applied (t/ha) on each field
• organize your grazing rotation to have paddocks that need lime grazed out at the same time as silage is cut
• have this information to hand, ready to call your lime supplier when the opportunity / conditions are right
Impact of lime on Fertilizer / Slurry
• CAN Fertilizer – no issue
• Protected Urea – no issue
• Standard Urea before Lime – leave 10 days between applications
• Lime before Urea – avoid Urea for 3 months
• Slurry before Lime – wait 10 days for slurry to wash in.
• Lime before slurry – avoid slurry for 3 months.
• P & K – no issue
The Benefits of Liming
• Increase grass production annually
• Release up to 80kg N/ha/year (This is the equivalent of a bag of urea (per acre) that is not costing you anything and will more than cover the cost of liming over two years)
• Unlock soil phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)
• Increase the response to freshly applied N, P & K
• Lime is a soil conditioner and controls soil acidity by neutralising the acids generated from N fertiliser and slurry applications and following high rainfall.
• Soil pH has a large influence on soil nutrient availability. Aim to maintain mineral soils in the pH range 6.3 – 7.0 and peat soil in the pH range 5.5 – 5.8 to maximise nutrient supply.
• Drainage water can remove approximately 250 – 625kg/ha, depending on the soil type, of lime equivalent each year
• Light free draining soils will lose lime more quickly than heavier soils
• A crop of first cut grass silage 5t/ha DM) removes approximately 75 kg/ha of lime equivalent
• A finished bullock removes approximately 25kg
• 1,000 litres of milk removes approximately 3kg of lime.
• 1,000 litres of milk removes approximately 3kg of lime
• Nitrogen fertilizers also have an acidifying effect
• Each 1 kg of N applied as CAN or Urea will generate acidity that will require approximately 2 kg of lime to neutra