Does your soil need lime this autumn?

Getting soil pH right is essential. Soils with optimum pH levels are more efficient when it comes to the uptake and use of nutrients, whether that be the uptake of chemical or organic fertiliser.

If you are not happy with how crops are performing and suspect your soil needs lime, the first thing to do is take a soil sample and test the soil’s pH.

Once you get the soil report back it will show the soil pH level and the amount of lime required to correct the pH if it is needed.

Different soil pH levels are required for different crops. For example, a soil pH of 6.5 suits cereal crops. However, a soil pH of 7 suits beans, beet and peas. On grassland, soil pH should be approximately 6.3.

Lime can also take two years or more to react with the soil fully so forward planning is often needed, for example if moving from pasture to tillage.

When using slurry or urea it is important to wait ten days after application of either of these products before applying lime.

In fields where lime is applied slurry or urea should not be applied until three months have passed after lime application.

Lime application to tillage soils works best when applied to ploughed soil. It can then be incorporated into the top 7.5-10cm of the soil.

Applying too much lime can also result in nutrients being locked up so it is essential to soil test and discuss application rates with your advisor before calling the contractor.