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Maximize Winter Cereal Yields with Granular-Lime

Posted on 06 September 2023

Granular-Lime in winter cereals is under-utilized. This, despite acidic pH and consequent reduced nutrient availability from the soil is critical to the establishment and eventual yield of winter cereals. In addition to the prevalence of acid soils in the UK, they also tend to be high in magnesium, and low in calcium. Cereals are crops requiring soils with high levels of available calcium to ensure nutrient movement into and throughout the plant, in addition to preferring a pH above 6.4. As such, there should be significant demand for calcium-based lime sources such as Granular-Lime to prepare winter cereal crops for increasingly difficult weather conditions to aid in establishment and survival.

As the window for sowing winter cereals can be narrow and significantly impacted by weather, lime is generally an ‘if there’s time and conditions suit’ thought when it comes to sowing winter cereals and is often skipped. As a result, these fields tend to have lower pH, lower nutrient availability and lower fertiliser use efficiency than fields treated with lime. Un-limed crops often present in spring with symptoms of nutrient deficiency and may require a foliar application of expensive micronutrients to correct the deficiency. Unfortunately, once a plant shows deficiency symptoms, yield damage has already occurred. These nutrient deficiencies can be avoided by correcting soil pH at sowing.

Given conventional AgLime is slow to react to provide full efficacy, it is not the most practical source of lime for winter cereals as it would need to be applied to the field months prior to provide full benefit. Granular-Lime overcomes this problem as it is applied to the seedbed either pre or post-planting with a conventional fertiliser sower. The highest quality Granular-Lime is superfine with 99.7% passing through a .125mm sieve and the granules break down quickly – so it is 97.9% reactive within 4 weeks with adequate moisture - meaning pH around the seed is ideal for plant establishment, maximising root development and providing the best start so the plant comes into the spring full of vigour and not sluggish due to nutrient deficiency.

It is recommended to soil test to determine soil pH before applying lime. When addressing very low soil pH levels (sub 5.6) farmers should be aware it is not advisable to apply more than 2 tonne per acre of fine quality AgLime or 250 kilograms/acre of Granular-Lime in one application (enough to raise pH by 0.5). Should your field require a pH correction of greater than 0.5, Granular-Lime is an ideal product as you can apply a split dose in the autumn, and again in early spring when field conditions suit. Your Granular-Lime supplier will be able to recommend to you the right application rate based on your soil test results.

Granular-Lime is ideal for correcting the soil pH for your winter cereal crop. It is cost effective, reacting quickly and raising soil pH for optimal fertiliser efficiency and nutrient uptake, giving your crop the best chance for establishment and limiting the need for expensive spring applied foliar nutrients.