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41,000 Farmers Apply for National Liming Programme

Farmers have shown huge interest in the new National Liming Programme with 4.5 million tonnes sought by 41,000 farmers before the Programme’s deadline on 20 April.

Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, confirmed the application numbers for the programme describing it as a show of environmental strength by farmers.

Almost 41,000 farmers applied to participate in the National Liming Programme by the closing date of 20 April 2023.

With support in respect of over 4.5 million tonnes of lime sought, the average tonnage sought per applicant under the programme is just over 111 tonnes.

At a rate of €16/tonne this would require a budget of more than €72 million if all lime sought were approved and claimed by farmers. Annual tonnage of lime applied nationally in recent years, including on those farms ineligible under the scheme has ranged from 700,000 tons to 1.3 million tonne.

Commenting on the level of interest in the Programme, Minister McConalogue said he will now assess how to best to step forward in light of the enormous demand, “the innovative and pioneering National Liming Programme has been a huge success and underlines clearly how engaged farmers are in soil fertility and reducing their chemical fertiliser usage. I very much welcome how farmers have engaged with this new programme and the fact applications are well ahead of farming norms – this is a tremendous show of environmental strength by farmers. I want to see how best we can step this forward to ensure as much lime as possible can be spread this year.”

“We need to correct soil pH on a significant proportion of our farmland to improve environmental and economic sustainability and reduce overall emissions from the sector. With this in mind, it is great to see how farmers have engaged in soil sampling over recent months and we will now hopefully see that translate into improved nutrient management planning resulting in targeted lime and fertiliser application in line with crop requirements.”

Due to this unprecedented level of demand for the Liming Programme, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed that, in line with the programme’s Terms and Conditions, it will have to limit approvals to stay within the allocated budget for the Programme. The department will be communicating directly with each applicant in due course.