Soil is alive with millions of worms, insects, and microorganisms interacting together with all different types of fungi, minerals, nutrients and solutions. It’s made up of particles of sand, silt and clay- the percentage and arrangement of these particles helping to determine the structure of our soils. All of these things combine to help determine our soil’s ability to provide moisture and drainage, nutrients, shelter and space for plants to establish, root and grow.
Soil pH plays a huge role in determining how many nutrients a plant can extract from the soil to be healthy and productive. At soil pH levels of 6.0 and below, large quantities of nutrients can become locked into the soil and made unavailable to the plant. As pH values fall, this is can cause massive yield and quality losses, and has the potential to make slurry and fertiliser applications wasteful.
As farmers, we are aware of the need to promote a healthy soil on our farms. Avoiding compaction and having a good rotation is a part of the key to healthy soil. However, it is easy to allow these things to fall by the wayside in an effort to sow or harvest when the weather presents the opportunity. The necessity to get the slurry out can potentially outweigh the nutrient requirements of a field. Often the practicality of farming outweighs the theory of farming. Consequently, we cause compaction problems, over-apply nutrients or we can even neglect to lime our soils. This results in fields that are less healthy and productive than they should be.
Attention should then be paid to the role of soil pH in crop production. We need to bear in mind how lime can help to oxygenate soil, improve water percolation into the soil, and raise soil pH to a level where nutrients are most available to a crop. Maintaining soil pH at 6.2 or above will go a long way towards keeping our soils healthy and productive.
Granular-Lime – available as G-Lime through John Thompson and Sons – is an ideal product to help build and raise soil Ph. G-Lime maximises the ability of plants to extract nutrients from the soil, while limiting soil compaction that can be associated with applications of conventional agricultural lime.
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 and healthier soils, thereby allowing for higher yields and crop quality.
Soil is probably the most important resource on our farms. As farmers, we could invest all of our time and resources into sowing the best seeds, using a robust pesticide programme, breeding the best livestock, building state of the art facilities, buying the most up to date equipment and using the most up to date technology. If our soil is unhealthy and unproductive, the profitability of our farms will be endangered. G-Lime is increasingly becoming an essential tool for farmers to use in helping to protect and maintain healthy, productive soils.
For more information on G-Lime, you can contact us HERE.
By: Kevin Havekes
MBPR (Agric.) & FACTS Qualified Advisor FE/5494