Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Lime usage by farmers jumps 8pc in 2016

Lime used has halved on Irish farms, leaving a shocking two-thirds of all farmland at sub-optimal pH
Lime used has halved on Irish farms, leaving a shocking two-thirds of all farmland at sub-optimal pH
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Irish farmer’s ground limestone usage was 967,281t in 2016. This is an increase of 8pc from 893,730t used in 2015, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Liming Irish soils is very beneficial according to Teagasc research, which has shown that Irish soils tend to be naturally acidic and require regular lime application to maintain their productive capacity.

Maintaining soils at the correct soil pH will increase the release of soil N and improve the availability of soil P and K following application.

Liming acidic grassland soils can release up to 80kg of N which is worth €80/ha annually. The last decade has seen national lime use currently fall to 50pc of what it was in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Department figures also show overall fertiliser nutrient usage in 2016 has increased by 2pc when compared to 2015 levels.

Of note, Nitrogen usage was up by over 9,000t to 339,104 in 2016. This is over 10,000t above Irish farmer’s average usage of Nitrogen over the past 11 years.

Fertiliser and Lime Inspections

As part of the fertiliser and lime inspection programme for 2016 a total of 231 samples were taken by the Department of Agriculture at manufacturer’s premises (167 fertiliser samples and 64 lime samples).

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A total 614 individual analysis were carried out for fertilisers which resulted in an out of tolerance of 2.3pc.

A total of 256 individual lime analysis were carried out resulting in 5.5pc out of tolerance.

The Department says the level of out of tolerance found continues to be low.

It says there were two infringements relating to labelling last year and both were addressed by the manufacturers.

It also says all analytical infringements relating to test results in 2016 were recorded, followed up and resolved as part of the annual inspection programme.

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