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Minister McConalogue opens €8 million National Liming Programme

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has announced the opening of the National Liming Programme 2023, with funding of €8 million.

Launching the measure, Minister McConalogue 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 €8m 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.

High annual rainfall along with our crop and livestock production can remove lime from our soils. 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% of our soils require lime.

With overall increases in input costs over the last year, the Liming Programme will ensure that the price of lime is not an impediment to its purchase and application, where soil analysis reports indicate that lime is required.

“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 (K).                                                             

“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 by the closing date of 20th April 2023.



Photos Caption:

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, launching the €8m National Liming Programme with Co Donegal liming contractor Liam Fullerton.



Notes to Editor


How does this benefit farmers?


The Liming Programme aims to incentivise farmers to purchase and spread ground limestone, in order to maintain soil fertility. It will provide a financial contribution of €16 per tonne of lime spread to participating farmers, to offset part of the cost of applying Calcium ground limestone (CaCo3) or Magnesium (dolomitic) ground limestone (CaMg (CO3)2).


Soils that are at their optimum pH levels allow for the release of soil N and increase the availability of soil P and K, which in turn will reduce chemical fertiliser requirements. This is particularly important in the current climate of high fertiliser prices.


How will the programme operate?


Perspective applicants should read the Terms and Conditions published online.


  • The farmer or his/her advisor will sign up to participate in the Liming Programme through, the Department’s online service by selecting the AgSchemes-Expression of Interest and then National Liming Programme 2023
  • They will indicate on their application the quantity of lime they intend to purchase and spread.
  • To qualify for payment, lime can only be purchased directly from quarries licenced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to manufacture and market liming materials.
  • Applicants that have submitted a Basic Payment scheme (BPS) application in 2022 and/or a Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application in 2023 are eligible to apply.
  • Farmers that availed of a Nitrates Derogation in 2022 or 2023 and farmers with a grassland stocking rate above 170kg livestock manure nitrogen/ha prior to export in 2022 are not eligible to participate in this programme.
  • Herdowners who are participating or intend to participate in the 2023 Eco-Scheme practice relating to soil sampling and liming are not eligible to participate in this measure
  • The following land categories are excluded from the Liming Programme, Commonage land, forestry, lands under Natura 2000, NHA/pNHA designation as well as Annex 1 grassland and Environmentally sensitive permanent grassland
  • Subject to budget availability payment will be made on a minimum of 10 tonnes of ground limestone and a maximum of 200 tonnes.
  • Ground limestone can only be applied in accordance with the lime requirement stated on up-to-date soil analysis reports (maximum of four years old from date of purchasing the lime).
  • The programme will be open for applications from 15th March to 20th April 2023.  Claims for payment must be submitted by 31st October 2023