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Calcium and G-Lime – why is it important?

Posted on 27 March 2018

G-Lime plays an important role in pH management and has significant benefits over conventional agricultural lime, including less risk of compaction, speed of reactivity and the ability to easily maintain pH at target level. However often lost in the G-Lime message is the importance that calcium plays on the farm.

Calcium is considered to be a macro nutrient for crop production, with only Nitrogen and Potassium taken up by the crop in greater quantities annually. Every plant needs calcium as it is an essential part of the cell walls, influencing the root & leaf structure, allowing the plant to take in water, while helping the plant resist disease, insects and weather damage. In addition, calcium is important for soil micro-organisms which effect residue decomposition, soil structure & nutrient availability, as well as livestock who require calcium for bone development, milk production and reproduction.

Unfortunately, many areas in Northern Ireland have low levels of calcium deposition in the topsoil and therefore plants can have difficulty extracting the amount required. Soil calcium should measure above 1600mg/L, but often soils are below this level and fall into deficient status. It is not uncommon for poor crop yields to be attributed to low levels of available calcium in the soil.

Typical G-Lime application rate to replace calcium removal by crop:

· Winter Barley + Straw 80kg/ha

· Spring Barley + Straw 60kg/ha

· Winter Wheat + Straw 130kg/ha

· Spring Wheat + Straw 90kg/ha

· Silage 15kg/Tonne DM

Due to the fact that G-Lime is 97% calcium carbonate, G-Lime is an ideal product to use annually in an effort to replace calcium offtake, as well as maintain soil pH at target.

When soil testing it is always good practice to request analysis for calcium levels, even if the pH data seems adequate. This should ensure farmer understand where to replace calcium in areas where it may be critically low or affecting crop production.

G-Lime will help to get calcium back into the soil. Just 50 kilograms per acre will raise soil pH by 0.1, making it easy for farmers to look at their soil samples and apply a precise amount to raise pH to their target level - between 6.3 and 6.5. Once they reach target, 50 – 100 kilograms per acre is then required as a maintenance dressing.

By maintaining soil pH at target levels, soils are healthier with less weed competition and less likely to experience weed infestation with more crop production and of higher quality. Furthermore, fields will experience more consistent crop production and quality associated with conventional agricultural lime applications; applied years apart.

G-Lime is a unique, fast acting soil conditioner, specially formulated to help manage soil pH and improve soil fertility. G-Lime can be spread using a conventional fertiliser spreader and begins to work immediately, with a full reaction in 4-6 weeks. G-Lime is ideal for neutralising acidic soils and increasing nutrient uptake, resulting in improved fertiliser use efficiency, healthier soils, thereby allowing for higher yields and crop quality.