Maintaining optimum soil pH through the use of lime will release up to 80kg of nitrogen (N) per hectare per year, says Teagasc.

It says the first principle in fertiliser planning is managing soil acidity through liming soils on a regular basis, as lime is a cost effective soil conditioner required to unlock major soil nutrients.

According to Teagasc 60-65% of Irish soils require lime to maintain a soil pH 6.3 for grassland and pH 6.5 for tillage cropping.

However, it says, lime should only be applied on the basis of a recent soil test report, it recommends that lime be applied on the basis of soil pH and the soil type.

It has also identified September as the ideal month to start planning lime and fertiliser applications to maximise the potential of the soils on your farm.

As applications of lime at this time of year will have a good opportunity to work and adjust soil pH to the target over the winter time.

According to Teagasc optimising the pH of Irish soils will also maximise the availability of soil phosphorous (P) and P applied in either manures or compound fertilisers.

This is important, it says, as P is expensive as a result of its limited stocks worldwide.