Subscribe and stay up-to-date with the latest news and great offers from DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine.
Don't miss out on the latest agronomic news.
Local agronomic alerts.Delivered straight to your inbox.
Fall and winter is a good time of year to test soils due to a reduced workload and more time to use test results to develop a nutrient management plan for the following crop.
Figure 1. Sampling areas based on variation across the field as indicated by differences in soil type and an old fence line.
Once you have an accurate and comprehensive field assessment from soil sampling, soil testing can be repeated at the same locations to track fertility and pH changes over time. Subsequent sampling can be redefined in order to analyze only representative areas of each field. Another option may be to reduce future sampling to only problem areas.
By examining the pattern of variability, a grower can learn more about his field. The patterns of high and low soil property values may be tied to soil type or slope, or they may help explain yield variability. Interpreting the variability in soil test values can take a bit of detective work. It may require looking at past farm records or recalling farming in the past.
In summary, the quality of the sampling methods greatly influences the accuracy of soil test results. An investment in soil testing is an opportunity to make more accurate soil management decisions.
Sign up to receive agronomic updates alerts from DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine.
Furguson, R.B., Hergert, G.W., Shapiro, C.A. and Wortmann, C.S. 2007. Guidelines for soil sampling. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, IANR. http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu.; Sawyer, J., Mallarino, A. and Killorn, R. 2004. Take a good soil sample to help make good decisions. Iowa State University Extension publication PM 287. Web sites verified 9/9/15. 150910225046