A new app to help grain growers identify the most profitable liming strategy for their paddocks has been released.
The iLime app was developed by the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with co-investment by GRDC.
The free, digital tool draws on more than 20 years of research data, as well as the expertise of Dr James Fisher, from Desiree Futures, and researcher Dr Fiona Evans, who works with Murdoch and Curtin universities.
The easy-to-use app enables growers to compare and evaluate the profitability of two different liming scenarios based on a series of straightforward settings.
DPIRD senior research officer Chris Gazey explains more about using lime to address subsurface acidity in a GRDC video.
Boosting grower confidence
Mr Gazey says the iLime digital tool will help boost growers' confidence when deciding how best to invest in liming to overcome soil acidity.
"Soil acidity is one of the biggest constraints to crop profitability, limiting yields on average by 13 per cent across about half of the Western Australian grainbelt, costing growers more than $500 million per year," Mr Gazey says.
"Long-term department trials have shown liming is the most effective strategy to increase soil pH to the minimum target level of 5.5 in the surface and 4.8 in the subsurface to achieve optimal yields.
"However, liming can be a costly investment.
"So it is important to weigh up all the facts before identifying how much to spend on treating which paddocks - something the iLime app does quickly, easily and tailored to your farm."
Long-term department trials have shown liming is the most effective strategy to increase soil pH to the minimum target level of 5.5 in the surface and 4.8 in the subsurface to achieve optimal yields.
No need for internet connection
The iLime app has been constructed so that, once it has been downloaded, users do not have to connect to the internet - so it can be accessed at any time via a mobile tablet or phone in the paddock or office.
Once the user answers a small selection of questions, iLime calculates the impact of liming strategies on crop yields and cash flow over 20 years.
This includes the return on investment over five and 10 years, the net present value and the break-even point, crop and pasture yield, as well as the pH response at 10-centimetre intervals, compared with not liming.
Mr Gazey says the app is based on default parameters, or can be tailored to customised settings.
"In just six clicks, users can calculate a response, based on the soil type, annual rainfall range, rotation, lime source and rate," he says.
"Alternatively, users can customise and save the characteristics of different paddocks."
In just six clicks, users can calculate a response, based on the soil type, annual rainfall range, rotation, lime source and rate.
The iLime app is an extension of the Optlime model, developed by the department as part of its Time to Lime initiative, with the support of investors, including the National Landcare Program and GRDC.
GRDC Research Code DAW00236