The Fertilizer Association of Ireland has launched its fourth video in its 'Efficient Use of Fertilisers' series.
This instalment focuses on understanding soil analysis results for your farm.
David Wall of Teagasc discusses lime, P and K recommendations with dairy, beef and tillage farmer Michael Doran from Co Wexford.
The results back from the soil lab are displayed using colour-coded maps and can quickly identify fields or paddocks which need attention.
Michael noted that “at a glance, soil fertility maps make it very easy to see where I need to target my lime and which paddocks are at optimum soil pH”.
Lime application advice
David offered some advice on lime application and soil pH: “In grasslands, aim for a soil pH of greater than or equal to 6.3 on mineral soils, while on peat soils pH 5.5 to 5.8 is adequate.
"Where clover establishment is planned, maintain higher soil pH levels of 6.5 to 7.0, as clover likes higher soil pH.”
He commented that having the correct soil pH and adequate supply of P will be important for maintaining sufficient clover in grass swards, which can in turn reduce the rate of nitrogen fertiliser.
Another advantage of mapping the soil P and K levels in each field is that a picture of the whole farm’s soil nutrient fertility status is painted and this can help to decide where to apply slurry or farmyard manure so that it is used where it is needed most.
Once the areas of low soil fertility are pointed out, it is then time to prepare a fertiliser plan for the farm, ensuring that offtakes are replaced and soil fertility is built upon where needed.
A good fertiliser plan will ensure that the correct fertiliser products are applied at the right rate and timings, increasing fertiliser use efficiency and maximising the return on investment, leading to a more sustainable enterprise.
You can look at the full video here: