The €8m National Liming Programme for 2023 is now open for applications, the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced.

The scheme will pay farmers to purchase and spread ground limestone, in order to maintain soil fertility.

It will provide a financial contribution of €16/t of lime spread to participating farmers, to offset part of the cost of applying calcium ground limestone or magnesium ground limestone.

Subject to budget availability, payment will be made on a minimum of 10t of ground limestone up to a maximum of 200t.

Ground limestone can only be applied in accordance with the lime requirement stated on up-to-date soil analysis reports (maximum of four years old from date of purchasing the lime).

Farmers, or their advisor, can sign up to participate in the National Liming Programme through, with those applying indicating on their application the quantity of lime they intend to purchase and spread.

To qualify for payment, lime can only be purchased directly from quarries licenced by the Department of Agriculture to manufacture and market liming materials.

Farmers who submitted a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application in 2022 and/or a Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application in 2023 are eligible to apply.

Excluded farmers

Farmers not eligible for the new programme include the following:

  • Farmers that availed of a nitrates derogation in 2022 or 2023 and farmers with a grassland stocking rate above 170kg livestock manure nitrogen/ha prior to export in 2022.
  • Herdowners who are participating or intend to participate in the 2023 eco-scheme practice relating to soil sampling and liming.
  • The following land categories are also excluded from the liming programme: commonage land, forestry, lands under Natura 2000, Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) or proposed NHAs, as well as Annex 1 grassland and Environmentally sensitive permanent grassland.

    Where to apply

    Eligible farmers who want to apply for the National Liming Programme should apply through by the closing date of 20 April 2023.

    Claims for payment must be submitted by 31 October 2023.


    Minister McConalogue said: “I am introducing an €8m grant aid scheme to support the spreading of lime as well as an enhanced Multi-Species Sward / Red Clover scheme.

    "These will help farmers deal with rising fertiliser prices and move towards the reduction of chemical fertiliser.

    “Lime is an important component of achieving balanced soil health, improving nutrient use efficiency and thereby reducing the requirements of chemical fertilisers and contributing to both climate and water targets.

    "By having a balanced soil pH, we will reduce the need for artificial fertilisers which is good for the environment and good for the farmer’s pocket," he said.