There’s more to soil fertility that N, P and K
Last week saw Seamus and Aidan Foody, owners of the 100 strong Sprucegrove dairy herd, taking the opportunity to put the cows out into the grazing paddocks for the first time this year. The father and son team farm on good land between Ballina and Crossmolina in Co Mayo.
“Given the very wet and mild winter we have plenty of grass available at the present time,” Seamus confirmed.
“Our plan is to graze as much of this off as possible over the coming weeks and then look at putting fertiliser out.”
But it would be a mistake to think that Seamus and Aidan have not already given considerable thought to the issue of soil fertility and how they can get the best return from the fertiliser they will be using this year.
“We have had the entire farm soil tested in preparation for the 2012 season,” Seamus further explained.
“The results confirm that we are a bit low in Phosphorous and that pH levels on some of the grazing paddocks are lower than they should be.
Aidan Foody pointed out that maintaining soil pH values at their optimal levels is crucially important when it comes to getting the best possible grass yields from both the grazing and silage areas on the farm.
“In the past, we have used the granulated fertiliser G-Lime® on the grazing paddocks throughout the Spring and summer months. It is easy to spread, using the fertiliser spinner, and we can apply it while the cows are still grazing,” he commented.
“G-Lime® is a very versatile and quick acting product. It is gives us the re-assurance that we can maintain soil pH levels in a way that fits in with our farm management practises.
G-Lime® is manufactured by Acheson and Glover. John Ward, from the company, recently called in with Seamus and Aidan to find out about their plans for 2012.
John believes that local farmers are missing a real trick if they do not consider lime as part of their overall fertiliser application policy this Spring.
“N, P and K prices are still strengthening. So it makes perfect sense for livestock and tillage producers to get the best possible responsive from these very expensive inputs,” he added.
“And lime is the answer in this regard. The reality is that most Irish soils are well below the optimum pH for growing grass and tillage crops. A quick soil test will confirm this. And under such conditions the response that farmers will get from Nitrogen, Potash and Phosphate is well below what it could and should be.”
John Ward continued:
“The solution to this challenge is to sow the required amount of agricultural lime. But I know this may not be a practical option for farmers working rented ground or for milk producers, who are simply looking for a more convenient way of topping up their paddocks’ lime reserves. In such cases spreading a granulated lime, such as G-Lime® is the answer. It can be sown by farmers using their own fertiliser spreaders and is, therefore, a very versatile and convenient product to use.
The granules within G-Lime® are made up of extremely fine limestone particles, which are immediately active once they make contact with the soil. The granules are held together with a lignin binder which dissolves very quickly courtesy of the moisture in the soil.
As a result, G-Lime® will give crops an immediate pH boost. In addition, G-Lime® contains both Calcium and Magnesium, making it an even more effective product on farms where Grass Staggers has been a problem.
G-Lime® is available from all Connacht Gold outlets, Lough Conn Milling, Ballina and Thomas Archer, Ballina. For a list of all stockists: visit the web site: