Check your lime source before buying

Morton’s recommend considering the choice of lime source carefully before buying as County Down advisor Jonathan Hawthorne explains

During the closed slurry period, over 1000 soil samples were collected and analysed by seed specialist Joseph Morton Ltd (Morton’s) from across Northern Ireland, giving an overall picture of soil health. Emerging trends reiterated the findings of independent research carried out south of the border (Teagasc 2014), showing that soil pH in Ireland is below optimum.

Indeed 60% of sampled fields had a pH below 6, with the optimum pH for grassland being between pH 6.3 and 6.5. Without lime application, this could lead to a large amount of fertiliser being wasted this spring.

Morton’s recommend considering the choice of lime source carefully before buying. County Down advisor Jonathan Hawthorne explains,

“It’s important to consider your choice of Lime source carefully in order to ensure the best results for your soil and to avoid potential health issues arising. By way of example, less than 2% of the soils we analysed showed a Magnesium deficiency (below Index 2), therefore applying a Magnesium Lime would not be appropriate or cost effective in 98% of cases. In fact, given that a high percentage of samples showed a Magnesium Index in excess of 4, a Magnesium Lime application could lead to possible interference with Potassium availability.

Jonathan Hawthorne added, “Liming is often left until reseeding, but smaller regular applications of granulated Lime onto grass swards will reduce fertiliser losses and improve grass production quickly and cost effectively. When choosing your Lime source, our advice is to focus on 3 factors – fineness, calcium content and convenience,”

Factors to consider when choosing a high quality Lime source

  • Fineness – Granucal is a granulated calcium lime made from ultra fine powder. The finer the powder, the faster the Lime’s ability to get to work, and more of it will react to raise soil pH further.

  • Calcium content – Calcium’s importance for plant growth cannot be underestimated. Only nitrogen and potassium are required in larger amounts. Granucal is 95% Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) or 37.9% Calcium. Where soil Magnesium index is 2 or above, Calcium based Limes should only be applied.
  • Convenience – Using Granucal through your own spreader gives you the ability to Lime at a time when it suits your crops, the ground conditions and at rates appropriate to the pH of individual fields.

Crossgar dairy farmer Alan Thompson adds, “We’ve been using Granucal for over 3 years now and we’re very happy with the improvement we’ve seen on the farm.”

For more information on improving the fertility of your soils, please contact Morton’s on Tel: 028 4066 2521.

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