Lime: A couple of farmers have been in touch to highlight the dangers of handling and spreading cubicle lime. Lime, particularly hydrated lime is very caustic so eye, face and hand protection should be worn at all times when handling it. If lime gets in contact with your eyes it can have very serious consequences. I know of one case when a near-empty bucket hopped off the ground and the small quantity of lime in it was flung into the farmer’s eyes. If lime gets into your eyes, flush with large quantities of water immediately and seek medical help. A dust mask with respirator should also be used to prevent inhaling lime particles.

Soil sampling: We are approaching the time of year for soil sampling. For accurate results, phosphorus and potassium should not have been applied in the three months prior to sampling. For mid-December sampling, this means no P or K, including what was in slurry should have been spread after mid-September. Where slurry was spread up to closing date in mid-October, soil sampling should be delayed until mid-January. Farmers can always do some of the farm now and the rest later. In an ideal world the samples should be taken and the report received back before the cows start calving to allow time to interpret the results and put a plan in place to correct soil fertility.