Having your soil at the optimum pH value can go a long way to reducing chemical fertiliser bills on your farm.
And the only true way to know if your soil is at the optimum level is by soil sampling.
It has been noted on more than one occasion that fertiliser prices will have a big impact on farm margins in 2022. Teagasc has predicted that increased milk prices will be wiped out by rising input costs.
The rising cost of chemical nitrogen has left many questioning what can be done to reduce fertiliser usage this coming spring.
Having your soil at the optimum pH will reduce the amount of chemical nitrogen needed to grow the same amount of grass.
This is due to the nitrogen being more effective in soil when pH levels are optimum. Although it will not completely remove the need for fertiliser, it will make the fertiliser you spread more effective, giving you more bang for your buck.
This means that each unit of nitrogen spread should result in boosted grass growth, which ultimately is why we spread chemical nitrogen.
Lime is often called the forgotten fertiliser of Irish agriculture, but this year might be a bumper year for sales of lime.
According to research, the return on investment from lime gives an extra €4-7 for every €1 invested.
This research was carried out when chemical fertiliser prices were more reasonable, so it is likely it has changed.
With the focus in the future being reducing nitrogen fertiliser in order to become more environmentally sustainable, investing in soil fertility should be a focus on dairy farms.
Recently, Agriland spoke with Dr. Joe Patton, head of Teagasc Dairy Knowledge Transfer Department about the importance of slurry this spring.
Joe told Agriland that farmers need to be more strategic with their slurry spreading in the spring, to obtain the maximum benefit from it.