Lakeland Dairies farms are in the top 20% nationally for soil fertility on farms, new analysis shows.
The Lakeland Dairies farms participating in the soil sampling programme surpassed national cross-sector as well as dairy-only enterprises for optimal phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and pH, with optimal fertility 18% higher than the national average.
Some 67% of samples had optimal P levels and 70% had optimal K levels. The pH levels were above the national average by 10% with most of the Lakeland Dairies’ soils sampled having a pH of >6.2.
The farms sampled were from counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Kildare, Laois and Leitrim and the samples were analysed by FarmEye.
More than 5,000 samples were taken from some 300 farms supplying Lakeland Dairies over the end of 2022 into the start of 2023. Lakeland Dairies has been operating a subsidised soil sampling programme since 2014 with the aim of improving soil fertility across its milk supply catchment area in Ireland. A separate soil sampling programme operates for suppliers in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the soil sample analysis, General Manager of Lakeland Dairies Member Relations, Eamon Duignan said:
“Firstly, it’s very encouraging to see the level of soil sampling uptake taking place across the Lakeland Dairies catchment area. Secondly, the results are an excellent performance from farmers across the Lakeland Dairies catchment area.
“It shows how tuned in the Lakeland Dairies farm families are to the importance of soil fertility. We have been supporting our farmers on this soil fertility journey for nearly a decade now through a targeted soil sampling and analysis programme. We will continue to support our farmers on this journey.”
Niall McLoughlin, Lakeland Dairies Farm Sustainability Manager said:
“Optimal soil fertility is the foundation stone of healthy soil. Having a healthy soil means we can grow as much grass as possible while working to reduce our use of chemical fertiliser. So, by getting soil fertility levels right, we can cut fertiliser usage which is good for the environment and good for the pocket. Lakeland Dairies farmers are playing a leadership role in helping reduce our carbon emissions while also continuing to produce the highest-quality milk.”