Date of this Version
Don’t guess, soil test. That may be a worn-out phrase, but it has taken on new meaning in the past year as commodity and fertilizer prices have fluctuated wildly. Soil testing is more important than ever because of changes in crop and fertilizer prices. Over the last two years the cost of soil sampling and analysis has increased little, while fertilizer prices have increased twofold to fourfold.
The information from soil tests is more valuable than ever. For more accurate fertilizer recommendations and increased efficiency, producers need two things: 1. better soil samples and soil sample information; and 2. better soil test calibration relationships that reflect both crop response and profit response.
The goal of soil testing is to provide an accurate assessment of the soil’s fertility status that can be used to make fertilizer recommendations. With the increasing awareness of fertilizer effects on environmental quality, soil tests can also be used to determine where fertilizers or manure should not be applied.