Teagasc Advisers in Longford have recently started a Lime promotion campaign under the heading “Time 2 Lime”. The Advisors in Longford are actively encouraging farmers to think about applying lime. Local Beef Adviser Shane Devaney stated “The objective of the campaign is to help farmers identify suitable fields and target the application of 2 tonnes of lime per acre where required. We are working with farmers to draw up a liming plan so they can get lime spread over the next few weeks and months”.
Shane went on to say “The optimum pH (a measure of acidity) for grassland is between pH 6.0 to 6.3 and we can find this out from a soil sample. We are in a very lucky position at the moment as there are a large number of farmers participating in GLAS who have a full set of soil samples for their farms so it is very easy to help them identify fields that will benefit from lime. We want to help farmers make the best use of this information to make more efficient use of their fertilisers and grow more grass. We are also working with farmers who do not have soil samples”.
Commenting on the benefits of lime Local Beef Adviser Francis Bligh said “Lime helps the soil make better use of slurry, farmyard manure and chemical fertiliser. At the correct pH the availability of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulphur (S) and calcium (Ca) increases. Studies show that where lime is deficient, up to 80% + of nutrients applied may get locked up in the soil and will not be fully available to grow grass. This means the grass may only receive the nutrients from two bags of fertiliser in every 10 bags applied. This is like selling 10 cattle in the mart and only getting paid for two. Lime also promotes better drainage and aeration of the soil due to increased worm and other micro-organism activity.
Concluding Shane stated “Weather is good at present and liming is one of the most important tasks that should be carried out. It is important to say that for silage it is better to lime after cutting, as high uptake of lime can increase the pH in the silage which affects silage preservation. Another point to note is that if slurry is first applied leave a week before spreading lime. If lime has been applied avoid slurry application for 3 months. Lime costs in the region of €20/tonne spread and studies have shown lime applications can give a 7:1 return on investment. We are encouraging you to think about lime to improve grass growth and make more efficient use of chemical and organic fertilisers.”
For more information contact Teagasc in Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021), Roscommon Town (Tel: 090 6626166) and Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160). You can find us on Facebook @Teagascroscommonlongford