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Green Rosie

Liming fields

I want to lime our fields and was wondering if anyone has some answers to these questions:

How much lime do I need per hectare?
How long before I can put stock in the field in again?
Anything else I should know?

You'd need to do a soil analysis to determine application rate

liming alters the balance of available trace minerals and can lead to deficiencies/excesses in the fodder.

iirc it is worth taking soil samples from different areas of the field ,testing the ph(simple kits will do but lab analysis and recommendation is cost effective for a decent sized patch) and working out how much each area needs.

to over or under lime is not sensible on cost and effect grounds.

Commercially, pH is the measure used to determine liming quantities. Commercial labs will do it, but for most purposes a cheap meter or bottle of indicator would be sufficient.

The other reason for a university soil test is to make sure you have enough magnesium, otherwise you'll want dolomitic lime instead of calcareous lime

Most commercial suppliers of lime will do the analysis for you as they want to sell lime, but you can do the analysis yourself if you get the kit. The guide is to have a slightly acidic ph, as acidity releases nutrients locked up in the soil, particularly trace elements. Somewhere around ph6.5 is right, once you go over ph7 (neutral) then the balance alters towards alkalinity and some elements get 'locked up', ie will not come into the soil solution and be unavailable for plant growth. If you are only growing grass then the above is true, but if you are growing crops then the place to lime in the rotation is after a potato crop which will generally grow down to ph4-very acid. The normal time in a crop rotation is immediately before a brassica crop, if you grow kale for livestock for example, as brassicas suffer from clubroot and lime conditions tend to inhibit that disease. Regarding stock going in to graze, we were told at college that a good rain on a freshly limed field would do a good job at washing the lime in, and that grazing could take place after that as soon as there was sufficient growth in the sward. I did a soil analysis at college where we took a sample of soil from all over a field and mixed it, as we were doing it for exercise and not for real. If you do the analysis yourself then you can do several of samples individually and treat areas of the field according to your tests. It is geared to how fussy you are, time available and the size of the fields you want to do.
I have a local farmer friend who pus on a mixed, prilled fertilizer, which contains lime in prill, (pelleted form), and the livestock are in the field grazing away. I wouldn't do that myself, but I am not farming!

On a small scale & over a longer timescale analysing the plant species present will give a good indication without soil analysis.
Ty Gwyn

On a small scale & over a longer timescale analysing the plant species present will give a good indication without soil analysis.

That is a practical farmer analysis,moss in the sward and species like yellow rattle warrant a good liming,
Quantities depend again on the type of lime used,ground or burnt lime.
Green Rosie

Thanks folks Smile
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