Spreading lime now could save thousands in feed costs next year
Ground conditions are very good in most parts of the country at present. This presents a great opportunity for getting a few loads of lime out this autumn.
With many fields closed up in the past week or two, now is an ideal time to spread lime on these fields.
When spreading compound fertiliser in a field which has a soil pH of 5.5 you are losing two thirds of the Phosphorus and one third of the Nitrogen due to fact that these nutrients are tied up in the soil and are not made available to the growing plant.
This means that if you spread a bag of 18.6.12 in a field with a soil pH of 5.5, then the reality is that you are really only getting the benefit of 12 units of Nitrogen and 3 units of phosphorus.
This is why correcting soil pH always comes ahead of correcting Phosphorus and Potassium deficiencies. With all this in mind, trials have shown that by increasing soil pH from 5.5 to 6.3, up to an extra 2ton of dry matter per hectare can be grown.
Nationally we are spreading approximately 750,000tonnes of lime annually.
However, to rectify the fact that two thirds of our soils nationally are deficient in lime, this figure needs to be doubled. In the '70s, our parents and grandparents were spreading far in excess of 1.5 million tonnes annually.
Which lime to use?
Calcium ground limestone is most common form of lime spread. It is readily available in most parts if the country and is fast acting and gives rapid pH adjustment.