The prospect of further price increases on fertiliser next spring will be a cause for concern among all farmers.

While the majority of livestock farmers are unlikely to purchase nitrogen (N) until February or March, should fertiliser prices follow the latest price trend predictions, getting every kg of N applied and growing the maximum amount of grass will be crucial.

However, the starting point for any fertiliser programme is having soils at optimum pH levels.

For grassland, soil pH should be around 6.2.

Cost effective

Acidic soils below pH will lock up N and other nutrients, limiting growth.

Buying expensive fertiliser and applying it on acidic soils is not cost effective.

So, make the most of the good ground conditions this autumn and get lime applied to soils as necessary.

Applying 1t to 2t/acre of lime will greatly improve spring grass growth and it is the cheapest form of fertiliser that can be applied to grassland.

There is a time lag of four to six months from applying lime until it corrects soil pH.

As autumn lime applications will alter soils over winter, swards will be ready to fully utilise N next spring.

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