The Teagasc National Tillage Conference is taking place online again in 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This year, little changes could make a big difference to increasing nutrient efficiency.

David Wall had some tips for farmers when he spoke on Thursday morning at session one of the Teagasc National Tillage Conference. He also place some values on organic manures.

Soil pH

Starting with pH, he described a low pH soil as hostile, which can make it difficult for soil nutrients to become available and noted that some crops will have a better tolerance to soil pH variation than others, adding that fodder beet is a crop which is very sensitive to soil pH and ideally wants a pH of 6.8 to 7.5.

He added that ensuring correct soil pH in a crop sensitive to soil pH such as fodder beet can increase revenue by up to €900/ha at a price of €35/t for beet.

The Teagasc researcher stated: “There’s no substitute for having soils at correct pH.”

He explained how the correct soil pH is essential in a year such as 2022, when farmers may be considering cutting phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) rates at high indices, as soil pH will help to maintain indices and will help to build low indices.

However, he cautioned on cutting back on K rates in cereal crops, as this can significantly affect straw strength.

He noted that 1t of lime/ha can result in an increase in soil pH of 0.3.


When it comes to P, David noted that a slight yield increase can be gained where P is combine drilled.

In Teagasc trials conducted at seven sites over three years, yield increases of 13% to 14% were reported where P was surface broadcast or incorporated, compared to where no P was spread, while combined drilling was found to increase yield by approximately 18%.

Organic manures

David placed some fertiliser replacement values on organic manures, with 1,000 gallons of cattle slurry (dry matter of 6%) valued at €39 with a breakdown of 9:5:32 for nitrogen (N), P and K.

Whereas 1,000 gallons of pig slurry with a dry matter of 4% was given a nutrient content of 19:7:20 and a value of €48.

One tonne of FYM (3:2:12) was valued at €15, broiler litter (28:12:36) was placed at €77, while spent mushroom compost (3:3:16) was valued at €20.

Stay tuned to the Irish Farmers Journal for more from this years’ Teagasc National Tillage Conference.