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Agronomy Talk

NW Indiana, NE Illinois, SE Wisconsin - Chad Kalaher, CCA

Review And Execute Your Soil Sampling And Analysis Plan

Published on Sunday, September 20, 2015

As harvest begins, it’s extremely important to review and execute your soil sampling and analysis plan. Due to potential sampling and lab screening delays, don’t wait until all your fields are harvested to initiate this process. Be sure to ask for soil test analysis including the basics plus CEC, base saturations and micronutrients. In 2015, spring soil and tissue samples collected during the growing season continue to indicate common nutrient deficiencies that are not being addressed in many fertility plans. Many farmers who have their pH, phosphorus, and potassium at optimum soil test levels may be ignoring important yield-limiting nutrients.

Boron, zinc, sulfur and calcium, among other nutrients, need to be part of your fertility program to obtain high yields. For fall application, some of the best dry sources of sulfur include ammonium sulfate (21-0-0-24S), MESZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn), and gypsum (~22% Ca and ~17% S). Elemental sulfur (90% S) is another dry option for fall application. Many other products and forms exist to address sulfur fertility as well. Check with your fertilizer supplier for all local options. A good rule to remember is that a 200 Bu./A. corn crop followed by a 50 Bu./A. soybean crop will remove about 25 Lb./A. of sulfur. Some nutrients, like boron and zinc, may be a better fit for spring or in-crop applications. Talk to your Beck’s Field Agronomist for further recommendations that are specific to your operation based on soil test results.

Author: Chad Kalaher