A word from our Agronomist

It has been another challenging harvesting season. Delayed planting dates and early cold temperatures. Snowfall in various areas of the country have slowed down the fall harvest and narrowed the window for soil sampling this fall. Midwest Labs has been busy processing and turning around the data from the soil samples received this year, back to our clients for fall fertilizer applications. 

Take a look at a day in the life of our soils receiving team on our facebook page to see how this is done. . https://www.facebook.com/midwestlaboratories/videos/535568467262508/

As you plan ahead for next season take the time this winter to reflect back on the past growing season and address those concerns that have come up over the past months.

Based on some of the calls our field team has received this year here are a few areas to consider.

 1.) Soil samples in some areas are not as current as crop advisors and their clients would like them to be. The late harvest seasons of the last few years have made it difficult to keep soil histories up to date. There is a growing move to spring and early summer soil sampling. This helps to have soil test results in place and ready for fall fertilizer applications as soon as a field is harvested.

In a 2015 season long soil sampling program Midwest Laboratories found nutrient profiles sampled monthly from April to December maintained similar results throughout the soil sampling period. We utilized geo locations to ensure the same locations were sampled throughout the season and found marginal difference in their reported results.  What does this mean? A producer and crop advisor can be confident in a spring or summer soil testing program supplying accurate information to apply the correct fertilizer rates for the next growing season.  See Nebraska summary below.

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2.) Another area to reflect on during and after the harvest season are the yield results captured from yield monitors and/or weigh wagon strip checks from the field. 

  • Are the nutrient applications meeting the needs of the intended crop yield goals?
  • Are the yield removal rates exceeding the fertilizer application rates for the crop during the growing season?
  • Are you identifying the soil test levels and soil type variations within a producer’s fields, that may require specific soil test levels to achieve optimum crop yields?

As an example, the differences on a sandy loam soil with a lower CEC versus a soil with a higher clay content and a higher CEC on fields with varying soil types. Optimum potassium soil test levels would vary on these different soil types.

There will be many areas of discussion as producers and their crop advisors meet over the winter months to plan for the 2020 growing season. Other options to consider moving forward would be the use of in season plant tissue sampling to confirm nutrient uptake during the course of the season and in season soil nitrate and ammonia testing to confirm optimum nitrogen levels for those crops with a higher nitrogen requirement. 

Written by Jim Fasching, Midwest Laboratories, Agronomist

Contact your field representative at Midwest Laboratories to discuss your soil report results and what to consider for next planting season.

If you didn’t see our soil season update from the field find that here: http://midwestlabs.com/2019/11/07/2019-soil-sampling-season-has-begun/