There is an old adage which states that “your health is your wealth”. That is never more true for a farmer when it comes to the health of their soil. A healthier soil will return a better investment, and as such anything that a farmer puts into the soil must be applied in a careful and measured approach.
As we embark on the sowing season, ensuring that your soil is capable of delivering the maximum possible benefit to your crop is one of the most important steps you can take. In a recent study, it was found that less than 10% of farmland in Northern Ireland has up-to-date soil analysis, and that 64% of NI soils are not at optimum pH. With a similar story across the whole of the UK and Ireland, the result is a less than optimal nutrient uptake by plants from the soil, restricting yields across the board.
At a pH of 5.5 for example, approximately 25% of the value of every tonne of fertiliser will remain locked in the soil, unavailable to the crop. Even at a pH of 6.0, almost 50% of any added Phosphorus will be locked away. These costs soon mount up, and can have a vast impact on the overall value returned.
With appropriate lime application, this outlook can be drastically altered. Traditionally lime may have been applied by external contractors, at several tonnes per acre, with heavy machinery crossing your land, which may have resulted in increased soil compaction. Further, variable weather can make for a short sowing window and co-ordination of application of lime at this time can be tricky, and sometimes leads to lime application being skipped. It has also been a significant investment for farmers, with the recommendation that the contractors return again in another 4 or 5 years, by which time your soil has long returned to its original pH.
Using granulated lime (G-Lime), you take control of what goes into your soil. Instead of a range of particle sizes from powder to chips, you get a consistent granule that breaks down into powder on immediate impact with moisture. Rather than an 18-month slow release into the soil, you get a 6-week immediate impact, with 100% effectiveness, liming the fields for benefit this season. In place of the heavy contracted machinery, you take control with your own sower, spreading only 150kg/Ac to achieve the same pH lift as a full tonne of ground limestone.
And just as with fertiliser, you get to manage exactly what goes into your soil and when. A maintenance application of G-Lime every year could be as little as 50kg/Ac, yet would ensure that your pH never drops below its optimal range, delivering a consistently high level of nutrient uptake, plant strength, bacterial resistance and enhanced photosynthesis.
In a recent trial in County Antrim, a 150kg/Ac application of G-Lime at sowing in a cereal crop resulted in a 47% yield increase for that season when compared with untreated soil on the same land at the same time.
Healthier soil equals higher yield, and a higher yield equals a happy farmer. It’s time to take control of your own soil’s health and deliver the very best for your crop this season.
Why not start with a Soil Analysis Pack from Kilwaughter, offering enhanced analysis of P, K, pH, Ca, Mg, Na, S and CEC? Each pack will be returned with a personalised soil analysis report including a 5 year lime and fertiliser plan.
To find out more visit: https://www.kilwaughterlime.com/soil-analysis-and-testing