Over the last decade, the importance of having soils at the correct pH has really been highlighted.

Of course, this is nothing new and our forefathers knew and recognised the importance of lime as a nutrient.

Somewhere along the line liming became too simple to be recognised as a key management practice. It was some mistake to make.

Correcting soil pH is key if farmers are to grow more pasture from less chemical nutrients, particularly nitrogen.

Having soils at the right pH makes all other nutrients more available. Furthermore, plants like clover have a higher tolerance for pH compared to ryegrass.

Ideal chance

Now that most farmers have cut second-cut silage, it’s an ideal chance to get lime out on grazing and silage ground.

There is no issue spreading lime and CAN-based fertiliser and/or CAN-based compounds at the same time.

However, lime should be spread after slurry and urea. This is because lime particles lying on the ground can increase the risk of nitrogen loss in the slurry and urea.

You should wait a week or so before spreading lime after slurry or urea but you should wait a few months before spreading slurry or urea after lime.

Most farmers will spread a maximum of 2t/acre in any one application.

Selecting paddocks

Select paddocks based on their pH and apply the lime after grazing or cutting for silage.

As most loads come in 20t sizes, you would need around 10 acres to be covered at any one time.

It generally costs around €22/t to €24/t for lime to be delivered and spread but this varies between regions.

The payback is fast on soils that are low in pH, improving the efficiency of all other fertilisers and increasing grass growth by 1t/ha, without spreading any extra fertiliser.