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Farm Scale Liming Programme

All derogation farmers must now adopt a farm scale liming programme based on a current Nutrient Management Plan and associated soil analysis results. Teagasc advisors Mark Coyne and Jim Moyles have advice and information.

Most farmers are well aware of the benefits of applying lime, such as it being an important soil conditioner, plus it’s potential to unlock N P & K and other soil nutrients.  It is estimated that for every €100 investment in lime, there is a return of approximately €700 in extra grass production annually. 

However, the application of lime on Irish farms is usually a job that is ‘put on the long finger’ and often doesn’t get done.  Derogation farmers must adopt a farm scale liming programme.  

The liming programme can be up to 4 years in duration with a minimum of 25% of lime spread in year 1 or this may be front loaded into years 1 and 2.  Lime applied since the soil samples were taken and prior to 2020 can be included in meeting the requirements for the liming programme.  The balance of lime must be spread over a maximum of 4 years.

You will find details of the exact amount of lime you need to apply annually, under the ‘Farm & Soil Fertility Summary’ on page 2 of your Teagasc Derogation Fertiliser Plan.  Page 3 of this plan will further outline the lime requirements on both a field by field and on an annually basis. 

Your advisor can print your liming plan to show the requirements on either a per hectare or a per acre basis, whichever is your preference.  To further simplify matters, he or she can supply you with a colour coded map of you farm, outlining on the map the rate of lime needed in each individual field.

Lands rented by way of one-year agreement i.e. conacre doesn’t have to be limed, however, if the land is being rented for more than 1 year, then it must be included in the liming programme.  Derogation farmers who have tillage lands must also lime this ground as per soil sample recommendations. 

Lime application must be recorded on ‘Annual Fertiliser Accounts’.  Invoices will be required on inspection by Dept. of Agriculture.  If you fail to spread the amount of lime set out in your Fertiliser Plan, your derogation application for that year may be withdrawn, leading to multiple nitrate penalties across breaches of both stocking rate and fertiliser allowances.

So don’t delay, contact your advisor immediately if you haven’t done so already, to discuss your farm liming requirements for 2020.