The national liming programme launched on Wednesday 15 March by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is generating high levels of interest.

This is not surprising, given the many production benefits of applying lime and relative cost of applying lime in comparison with fertiliser.

A high level of applications are expected from farmers eligible to apply.

Applications must be submitted through the Department of Agriculture’s online portal. Farmers can apply in their own right or through an agent authorised to act on their behalf. portal

  • The application portal for the programme can be accessed from the homepage by selecting the first option, ‘Agschemes – Expression of Interest’.
  • This will bring you through to a webpage giving three options in the ‘select scheme’ drop down menu. These include Nitrates, Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme and the National Liming Programme, which should be selected.
  • The next page requires you to enter the tonnes of lime which you intend to apply for support under the programme. It should be noted at this stage that the terms and conditions of the programme state that the volume of lime applied must be based on soil samples showing a need for such levels of lime to be applied. Soil samples can be a maximum of four years old from the date of purchasing the lime. This means that where soil analysis is not currently available, farmers can apply for the programme using an estimate of the lime that is required and then collect and submit samples for analysis. Soil analysis does not need to be submitted and must be available on request as part of the Department’s administrative and compliance checks. The maximum eligible application rate is 7.5 tonnes of ground limestone per hectare.
  • Once the level of lime required is entered, the only task left is to tick the relevant boxes to state that you agree with the statements and press the submit button. The status of the application at the top right of the scheme will change from ‘Not submitted’ to ‘Submitted’.
  • Purchase and application

    Ground limestone can be purchased and applied following the date of application and before an approval letter is granted.

    The Department states: "Ground limestone invoiced and paid for on or after the date of submission of a valid application is eligible for consideration under the scheme.

    "However, applicants should be aware that there is no certainty that the full quantity of lime applied for will be approved."