Better soil & crop managementCorn, Healthy, yield

Soil Season is picking up, and so is our testing! We hosted a soil testing webinar & seminar this past month where we walk through how to read a soil report.  Midwest Labs wants to make sure you are equipped with the information to implement better soil & crop management strategies.

Some key takeaways from our Webinar were as follows:

1) Start at Cation Exchange Capacity [CEC]

The CEC number is directly related to your soils ability to with-hold water & nutrients. Depending on how high or low your number is, you can determine the texture of your soil. Once your soil texture is determined it is easier to establish the applications to add when managing your crops.

Numbers that fall in the range of less than 10meg are soils that are sandier. Soils that kick-back a number that falls in the range of 10-15meg contain more clay but still have that silty texture. Any soil that results in a CEC score of 15meg+ contains more clay.

In a high-level sense the less sandy your soil, the less chance of air pockets in your soil to let the water and nutrients to run through instead of hold

2) Organic matter MATTERS

Paying attention to the organic matter in your soil helps to determine the amount of fertilizer to purchase. Soils that have higher amounts of organic matter tend to retain nutrients for longer periods of time, therefore covering most of the work of fertilizer. On the other hand, soils with aeration allow more oxygen through that will work to burn the organic matter inside.

3) The pH power

Understanding your soils pH levels are crucial to understanding the acidity of your soil. The more neutral your soil’s pH is, the better chance Mother Nature has at doing her job. Soils with a pH in the range of 6.3-6.8 have a healthy environment for microbial activity. When your pH is too high or low, your plant growth will be stunted. A recommendation to cure stunted growth is to band your nutrients together.

4) Soil Demons

Soil reports not only function as a way for agronomists to manage crop production, they also call out potential flaws within the soil. When looking at your soil report, pay attention to the results of Boron and Soluble salts, too much of either has the potential to significantly hinder production. High boron levels in your soil are toxic to the seeds, and too much sodium disables the plant’s ability to pull water out of the soil.

Soil Testing is a great tool to understand how to manage your crop for better yields. Listen to our webinar, read from our guide, or head to our YouTube channel @MidwestLaboratiesInc and choose from a series of resources to help you implement successful crop management.

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