With chemical fertilisers dramatic price increase since last season it is vital to have soil pH at the correct level to ensure every granule and every pound is being used effectively. Soil pH greatly effects the availability of nutrients, at pH 5.5 only 77% of nitrogen, 48% of phosphorus and 77% of potassium will be available. Table 1 shows the value of nutrient which could be lost if soil pH is not corrected, as can be seen pH 6.3 or higher is needed to receive the full value of your fertiliser.
Mineral grassland soils should have a minimum pH 6.3 and cereal soils minimum pH 6.5 for optimum production. Soils are constantly subject to forces which are lowering pH including rainfall, fertiliser/slurry application, decomposition of organic material and crop usage. It is important to have your soil tested at least once every four years to determine soil fertility and ensure you are using the most appropriate products for your farm.
Correcting soil pH is not only important from an economic point of view but also will have a positive impact on the environment helping prevent nutrients being lost to the wider environment and increasing the nutrient use efficiency resulting in more production per kg of nutrient applied.
PH is increased by applying liming materials of which the quality and the neutralising value (ability to change pH) vary greatly. The speed and effectiveness of liming materials depend on the material they are sourced from, with solubility and particle size crucial. The most suitable material for liming in Northern Ireland is calcium carbonate due to soils here generally being high in magnesium. Calcium carbonate is a very effective material at changing pH and increase the calcium/magnesium ratio of the soil. However the solubility of this material is generally quite low meaning that particle size is critical, the smaller the particle the more effective and faster the product raise the soils pH.
Calciprill granular lime is an excellent product for raising pH, being mined from a very pure source of calcium carbonate in Northern Ireland. The lime is ground extremely fine, to under 0.075mm in diameter before being formed into a granule making it easy to spread and handle. Calciprill is therefore an extremely effective liming material allowing the same neutralising effect from a much lower application rate when compared to traditional agricultural lime, with 150kg of Calciprill proven to have the equivalent neutralising value of 1,000kg of bulk agricultural lime.
To find out more about having your soil tested or Calciprill contact Fane Valley Agronomy & Forage on 028 9261 0485
Fane Valley Units 1-2
Glenavy Road Business Park
20 Glenavy Road