According to Teagasc, overall soil test results for 2015 show that about 90% of samples have sub-optimal fertility status (soil pH<6.3, P&K index 1 or 2). Currently 64% of grassland soils and 45% of tillage soils have below the optimum soil pH. Optimum soil pH is 6.3 for grassland and 6.5 for tillage. Mark Plunkett, Teagasc soil and plant nutrition specialist said “This is a serious limitation to the production potential of our soils and limits our ability to maximise our most competitive advantage in the market place, which is our ability to grow high yields of quality grass”. “Nationally we are applying less than half the quantity of lime that was applied in the 1970’s and early 1980’s” according to Dr David wall, leader of the Teagasc soil fertility research programme at Johnstown Castle. “Applying lime to correct soil pH is the cornerstone for maintaining the productivity of our soils, something that has been largely overlooked in recent decades. Identifying fields that that require lime for pH adjustment should be the first step towards correcting soil fertility” according to Dr Wall.
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