Managing expenses and increasing income provide two clear paths toward improving your farm’s profitability. Soil sampling — and fertilizing according to results — is one practice that can impact both sides of the ledger. And this spring is an excellent time to start.
Soil sampling and lab analysis are critical for effective nutrient management. Knowing the fertility status of your soil can help ensure you feed your crops for maximum yield potential without overfertilizing.
Fall or spring soil sampling windows each offer advantages. Although fall is a popular season for soil sampling, Iowa State University Extension specialists say the best time to pull soil samples is when you have time to do the job most effectively, which includes accessing and gathering thorough, representative samples across your fields.1
A spring soil sample gives a more accurate picture of what will be available to the plant that year. According to University of Kentucky researchers, it’s important to understand seasonal fluctuations in soil fertility2 and to work with your agronomist, crop consultant or crop input retailer to interpret your fields’ soil analysis and adjust accordingly.
Depending on the year, the spring soil-sampling window can be tight. Make sure you’re ready when fields dry. Many county Extension offices offer low-cost soil test kits. Or work with your co-op, agronomist or crop consultant to schedule soil sampling for your fields. The sooner you send samples to the lab, the more time you’ll have to put the results and recommendations to work on your farm.
Whether you decide to boost fertility preplant, at-plant, side-dress or postharvest application — or via a combination of split applications, talk with your Case IH dealer about how our full line of equipment options can be tailored to suit your fertility program. From our rugged, heavy-duty Nutri-Tiller strip-till system and Nutri-Placer fertilizer applicator to our Early Riser® planters, Case IH can help you precisely place your fertilizer investment where it benefits your growing crop most. And that’s a great way to boost yields and your profit potential.
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- An accurate soil test starts with proper sampling.
- Splitting nitrogen applications helps them make corn-on-corn work.
1Sawyer J, Mallarino A, Killorn R. Take a Good Soil Sample to Help Make Good Decisions. https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Take-a-Good-Soil-Sample-to-Help-Make-Good-Decisions. Published November 2004. Accessed February 6, 2016.
2Murdock L. Call D. Managing Seasonal Fluctuations of Soil Tests. http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/agr/agr189/agr189.pdf. Published May 2006. Accessed February 6, 2016.