Getting pH in right range can be crucial
Step 2 – Apply lime as required to increase soil pH up to the target pH for the crop
Soil pH should be maintained at the target soil pH, which is essential to ensure optimum nutrient availability. Fertiliser efficiency will be reduced where the soil pH is incorrect.
The optimum use of applied nitrogen (N), P and K is obtained when at a soil pH 6.2 to 6.5 in mineral soils and a soil pH 5.5 in peat soils (see Table 1).
Lime will increase the release of soil nutrients, increase earthworm activity and improve soil structure.
Test soils every three to five years to check soil pH and apply recommended lime rates as per soil test report.
It has been estimated that grassland soils maintained at pH 6.3-6.5 will release approximately 60-80kg/ha more N per year than soils with pH 5.0. This difference is worth approximately €60-85/ha.
Calcium limestone is the most common form of ground limestone available.
Magnesium limestone can also be used, and is recommended where tested magnesium levels are less than 50 mg/l.