Lime in vital role

26 Mar, 2003 10:00 PM

APPLYING lime to acid soils will improve dairy pasture yields by up to 100pc according to new research in WA.

The Department of Agriculture, in association with the University of WA and the State Chemistry Centre and with the support of the Dairy Research and Development Corporation (DRDC), conducted the research on pastures of subterraneum clover and annual and Italian ryegrass, all typical species on WA dairy farms.

The Department of Agriculture's Dr Mike Bolland led the team and said that previous research needed updating because the research had been conducted on less intensive grazing systems than we have today.

"We measured pasture yeilds at the three leaf stage and checked for magnesium need," he said.

"Pasture yield responses over the three-year project varied widely with soil type; the DM increase was typically 25-100pc."

Depending on soil type, applications of lime and the depth at which it is applied will differ quite markedly but research in WA and elsewhere has found that lime works most effectively if mixed into the soil.

The exception to this rule is with cultivating loam and clay soils in high rainfall areas, these trials mostly resulted in poor soil structure.

For more information on the effects of lime on dairy pasture contact Dr Mike Bolland (08) 9780 6187 or email


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