Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue yesterday (Wednesday) officially opened the National Liming Programme with funding of €8 million.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: “Soil fertility is the foundation of a profitable and sustainable farm. As part of our response to the price increases in input costs, I am delighted to launch this new €8 million National Liming Programme which will help offset part of the expense of using lime.
“Lime is an important component of achieving balanced soil health, improving nutrient use efficiency and thereby reducing the requirements of chemical fertilisers and contributing to both climate and water targets. By having a balanced soil pH, we will reduce the need for artificial fertilisers which is good for the environment and good for the farmer’s pocket”.
The National Liming Programme was an initiative secured by Minister McConalogue as part of Budget 2023 with the aim of assisting farmers to deal with input costs and help them reduce the need for artificial fertilisers.
Results from the Teagasc Soil Fertility Report in 2022 indicate that while soil fertility nationally has improved it is still estimated that up to 57 per cent of national soils require lime.
The Minister added: “This is an innovative programme which will provide a financial contribution to participating farmers of €16 per tonne of Calcium ground limestone/Magnesium ground limestone applied. Teagasc trial work shows that liming not only increases soil microbial activity but can also unlock soil phosphorous (P) and potassium).
“Research has also indicated that increasing soil pH to optimum levels leads to a significant reduction in Nitrous Oxide (N2O) emissions while simultaneously increasing grass and other crop yields. Reducing our fertiliser use by ensuring correct PH in our soils is positive both from a climate and water perspective, but also makes sound economic sense for farmers”.
Farmers wishing to apply for the Liming Programme should apply through www.agfood.ie by the closing date April 20th.