A new assurance scheme for lime manufacturers aims to ensure that farmers have confidence in the quality of the lime they are buying.

The AgLime Quality Standard (AQS) has been developed by the Agricultural Lime Association (ALA), representing 15 agricultural lime suppliers across Great Britain.  The ALA says the industry-led initiative is the first assurance benchmark within the UK fertiliser sector for agricultural lime products.

 The voluntary standard, administered by KIWA, requires all participating lime producers to have their products checked annually by an independent laboratory to check they are compliant with UK and/ or EU regulatory standards.

The Association says soil pH affects mineral and organic nutrient efficiency – a balanced soil environment is crucial to optimising yield potential. Farmers need to have confidence in the specification of the inputs they are applying to their soil in order to get optimum results.

The AQS accreditation means the lime has been tested for reactivity, neutralising value and fineness as well as its calcium and magnesium content. Reactivity, a new efficacy factor in the UK, measures the balance of neutralising value and fineness as a guide to a sample’s speed of reaction.  

Registered lime producers who achieve accreditation to AQS will be able to use the scheme’s certified product logo for the specific site, products, and materials that have qualified.  They will also receive a certificate, again specific to the producer, site or product that is valid for one year from the ALA’s parent body the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

“The AQS provides farmers with added reassurance that the lime they are buying has been independently verified as meeting a recognised standard,” says Mick Stovin, chairman of the ALA and commercial director for Somerset-based lime producer Francis Flower. “Farmers need to have confidence in the specification of the inputs they are applying to their soil, in order to get the results they require and expect.” 

ALA manager Stephen Hill encourages all merchant, distributor and farmer purchasers of liming materials to specify AQS standard product to help the scheme establish itself.