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Correct Soil pH To Get The Most Out Of Your Fields

Posted on 12 February 2018

With spring nearing it is almost time to evaluate existing crops and determine which fields should be considered for spring seeding. With a recent emphasis on soil health and getting more from our fields, soil pH is critical to maximising yield and quality, as well as getting a new establishment off to the best start, ensuring healthy and vigorous crops with high quality and high yields.

The Forgotten Fertiliser

Lime is critical to elevate soil pH and ensure that plant roots are able to extract all the nutrients they need from the soil. As soil pH declines, critical nutrients combine with other elements and become unavailable to the crop for uptake by the roots. Even at a pH of 6.0, often considered to be a relatively good pH, 48% of phosphorus (P) in the soil is unavailable to the crop for uptake. In the cool and wet spring soils, where P is already unavailable, this can lead to backwards and stunted crops. Struggling crops are unable to recover lost yield, and often struggle with disease. By liming the soil to achieve a target pH above 6.2, you can ensure the majority of nutrients a crop needs are available to the plant, getting the crop off to the best possible start. Therefore, maintaining your soil pH above 6.2 is like putting on a couple bags of very inexpensive fertiliser!

Which Lime is Best

Selecting the most effective lime is critical to achieving your target pH in a timely fashion. Granulated lime, such as G-Lime begins to work in the soil immediately and has 97% reaction within 6 weeks of application. Compared to a conventional ground limestone, which can take up to 6 months to give a full lift in pH, it is clear which product will be most beneficial to helping a new crop establish. Further, G-Lime can be stored on farm and is ready to be applied with the farmers own fertiliser sowing equipment, making it a fast and easy way to get lime on the fields. Historically, it was a difficult and time consuming task to apply lime, often done through coordination of a contractor, and fields suffered compaction issues from the heavy equipment used to apply it. Granulated lime has been available for years and can be stored on farm and is easily applied with limited compaction risk.

I’ve Heard Granulated Lime Does Not Last

Traditional liming practices include applying lime in mass quantities when sowing a field, and then leaving the field until it becomes unproductive before sowing more lime. This results in peaks and valleys in field production in terms of both yield and quality. By using a granulated lime such as G-Lime, farmers are able to apply small amounts of lime every year to maintain their soil pH above 6.2, maximising fertiliser use efficiency, resulting in higher yields and better quality crops.

Can Such A Low Rate Really Be Effective

Because granulated lime is made of superfine limestone dust, there is far more particle surface area in a granule than in the particles of AgLime. Therefore granulated lime has a greater potential reaction with the acid soil solution. This means you can use less granulated lime to get the same pH correction as AgLime. Often 150Kg/Ac G-Lime provides an equivalent pH lift as 1 tonne of AgLime. When comparing the cost of granulated lime to AgLime, always work the price back to volume applied per acre and granulated is often cheaper/equivalent
to AgLime.

Contact Kilwaughter Lime on 028 2826 2132 to find out how you can use Granulated-Lime to your benefit this growing season.