Soil Tests Offer Guidance | Technical Bulletin 069
Posted on November 11, 2016
If it's been more than 4 years since a field was last sampled, it's time to resample.
Non-mobile nutrients like phosphorus and potassium don’t change very much from one year to the next, so a 4-year soil testing plan is adequate. Nitrate and sulfur, on the other hand, need to be sampled annually near planting time for the most accurate recommendations.
Soil tests offer guidance for the nutrients that are needed for most economic yield, but just as important to the environment and your wallet, they also show what’s not needed. Be sure to follow the 4R’s of nutrient management and put the right rate of the right form of nutrients in the right place and at the right time.
Many fields are variable in their needs for lime and other nutrients. For soils that need lime in some parts of the field, but not others, consider grid sampling. While testing costs will be higher, the money saved on buying fewer tons of lime will more than offset the testing costs. In order to get a uniform pH over the entire field and best nutrient availability, apply lime only in those areas that actually need it. GPS-equipped spreaders can easily accomplish the job.
Irrigators will also want to sample the water. Irrigation water often contains crop nutrients. Nitrate, sulfur, calcium, magnesium and micronutrients are sometimes found in significant quantities.
PureGrade® starter liquid fertilizer is a great addition to your nutrient management program and will give your crops a fast, uniform start.
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