Farmers could be wasting money on fertiliser and missing out on forage production if they are not monitoring and controlling soil pH.
Acidic soil (below pH 5.5) can have a significant impact on grass growth and yield and response to nutrient, resulting in reduced yield and wasted fertiliser application.
Over time soils can become more acidic due to leaching and crop uptake as well as applications of fertiliser and muck. However, many farmers do not regularly test soils, particularly those with long term leys or permanent pasture, and therefore could be missing out on vital forage output, according to Mick Stovin of Francis Flower.
“With feed and fertiliser prices at an all time high it is more important than ever that grassland farmers maximise forage yield and quality. Yet if soil pH is not in the optimum range, this is almost impossible,” said Mr Stovin speaking at Grassland and Muck 2011.
“Many farmers that feel that lime can only be applied at the beginning of the season or to seed bed, but that is not the case if you use Calcifert granulated lime rather than a traditional lime product.”