Higher Fertilizer Costs Speak to the Value of Soil Testing

Jan 24, 2022


Soil sampling determines what nutrients are in the soil.
Nutrient management is never simple, but this year’s high fertilizer prices increase the challenge of getting the most return on investment on fertilizer applications.
 
“Soil sampling is a great way to find out what your fertility needs are,” said Don Lamker, Federated’s agronomy sales rep for the Rush City and Ogilvie locations. “You can find out what fertility you have in your soils currently” – thereby applying nutrients cost effectively and avoiding expensive and unneeded applications.
 
Three valuable custom soil sampling strategies are offered by Federated Co-ops:
 
  1. Conventional Soil Sampling
Your Federated Agronomist collects random samples in a field and averages them to get a fertility level for a particular field. Fields are normally divided into 20-acre sections for conventional soil sampling. Based on the sample results, a fertilizer recommendation can be put together to apply the right combination on nutrients on those fields. 
 
  1. Zone Sampling
This is a precision agriculture technique that divides a field into zones based on the productivity potential of the field. High productivity areas are sampled together as are medium and low productivity areas. The zones can be defined based on past yield results, satellite imagery, or soil types. This strategy assures that the best areas of a field are getting enough fertility to maximize yield and provides the option spend less on areas of a field that are limited in their ability to provide a good return on investment (ROI).
 
  1. Grid Sampling
This is the most detailed sampling strategy. Fields are divided into 2.5-acre grids and sampled in each grid. This strategy provides the most detail about the fertility of a field.Grid sampling requires additional time and costs more than the other strategies, but precision sampling makes it possible to effectively promote a higher ROI through targeted fertilizer applications. Federated’s new FieldAlytics™ software adds even more benefits and functionality to grid sampling (see related article).

Talk to your Federated Agronomist to set up sampling as soon as the frost is out. Get the most from your high-cost nutrient applications this year with precision sampling that can improve your ROI.
 

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