Friday, 27 May 2022 07:55

Time for lime to shine

Written by  Leo Argent
New Zealand's lime industry is pointing to the benefits of locally extracted product to help farmers deal with huge increases in fertiliser prices. New Zealand's lime industry is pointing to the benefits of locally extracted product to help farmers deal with huge increases in fertiliser prices.

New Zealand's lime industry is pointing to the benefits of locally extracted product to help farmers deal with huge increases in fertiliser prices.

The increasing cost of fertiliser has been further exacerbated by foreign shipping costs.

However, AB Lime Southland general manager Steve Smith says that with fertiliser prices so high, some farmers may want to concentrate on fixing their soil pH.

"Soil acidity has an effect on the availability to plants of nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, and lime helps address that," Smith explains.

He says with today's focus on agriculture's environmental effects - including fertiliser use - farmers need to choose their fertiliser programme wisely, making sure it works with their farm system goals.

"Lime is an important component in the mix and it's a particularly good option at the moment while fertiliser prices are so high," Smith adds. "But it doesn't replace fertiliser long-term."

Shaun Cleverly of the New Zealand Lime Producers Association says farmers are having to reassess costs, with fertiliser only one of several factors stretching farm budgets.

Cleverly manages two Canterbury lime quarries for Palmer Resources. He says while lime has risen in price [a maximum of 16.67%], it hasn't matched urea's over doubling of cost or the 10-55% lift in other fertilisers like magnesium, sulphur and potash.

"It's a good time to get pH levels to optimal levels for nutrient availability."

Meanwhile, Keith Squires - general manager of Avoca Lime in Whangarei - says now is an especially good time to use lime to "sweeten the soil" by boosting pH levels.

"It provides great bang for your buck by fostering optimum availability of all other nutrients."

Product June 2018 Jan 2022 % Increase
Urea $485/t $1190/t 145.4
10% Potash Super $338/t $439/t 29.8
15% Potash Super $352/t $471/t 33.6
20% Potash Super $366/t $502/t 37.0
30% Potash Super $394/t $565/t 42.4
50% Potash Super $450/t $691/t 44.3
15% Potash Sulphur Super $377/t $495/t 31.2
30% Potash Sulpher Super $415/t $585/t 40.1
Super Mag N $327/t $483/t 47.5
15% Potash Super Mag N $367/t $561/t 53.1
20% Potash Super Mag N $380/t $587/t 54.1
Ex Balfour Southland Lime $36/t $41/t 13.3
Ex Dipton Southland Lime $30/t $33/t 10.7
Ex Geraldine Lime $30/t $27/t 0.9
Ex White Rock Rangiora Lime $30/t $35/t 16.7
Ex Websters Havelock North $24/t $28/t 16.2

 

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