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CropTec 2016: Lime to unlock nutrient potential


Abby   Kellett

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Abby   Kellett
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Lime to unlock nutrient potential @CropTecshow #clubhectare

The importance of lime in increasing nutrient use efficiency was emphasised by LimeX manager, Richard Cogman, who said too many growers have soils with a sub-optimal pH.

 

In the CropTec crop nutrition seminar, Jonathan Telfer of Yara suggested that more than half of UK arable soils required some form of pH treatment.


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Mr Cogman said: “We know from independent research that where you have a pH of 6 as opposed to a pH of 7, growers are losing efficiency of nitrogen and phosphate, both of which are expensive inputs.

 

The interval between required lime applications will vary depending on a number of factors, according to Mr Cogman.

 

“pH can change depending on the amount of N you use and the type of N. For example, ammonium sulphate can be much more acidifying than say ammonium nitrate, depending upon environmental conditions.

PH and fertiliser efficiency:

 

 

Nutrient efficiency (utilisation)

Soil pH

N

P

K

4.5

30%

23%

33%

5.0

53%

34%

52%

5.5

77%

48%

77%

6.0

89%

52%

100%

7.0

100%

100%

100%

Source: Dr C Synder

“There are other factors such as rainfall and cultivation practice, but arable crop offtake will normally have little impact on your pH.”

graph

He advised regular pH testing at a sensible place in the rotation: “If you can get the pH right for the most sensitive crop in the rotation, for example barley or sugarbeet, by the time you get to the less sensitive crops, the pH should still be adequate.”

 

See also: Extensive Fertiliser Manual RB209 review released

 

By doing so, he said growers should be able to maintain an adequate pH with only modest lime inputs every three to five years.

 

In order to get the most out of liming, he urged growers to source good quality lime.

 

“Particle size is really important when it comes to lime. Frankly some lime should be in a cement mixer not a lime spreader.

 

“Particles finer than 0.25mm are most effective in neutralising soils whereas hard particles coarser than 1.3mm are of practically no liming value,” said Mr Cogman.

 

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