Let’s Talk About Soil Sampling, Again

Oct 10, 2022

Fall soil sampling reveals what is needed for next season.
If there’s one thing Federated Agronomists are known for, it’s their insistence on soil sampling, and for good reason. Soil samples are a predictor of future crop success.
“Fall is an excellent time to soil sample,” said Matt Kurtz, Federated’s Rush City location manager, “especially after harvest, to check on nutrient levels and pH.”
Fall sampling makes it possible to make accurate recommendations for both fall and spring applications of fertilizer and/or lime (which can be worked in with fall tillage).
Don Lamker, Federated agronomist from the Rush City and Ogilvie locations, offered this outline of the three types of soil sampling provided by Federated Co-ops:
  1. Composite sampling (one combined sample per field; recommendations from these samples offer one rate for the whole field).
  2. Zone sampling (multiple samples per field in four to six pre-determined zones, often based on satellite imaging that reveals productivity potential; application rates are tailored to the zones).
  3. Grid sampling (multiple samples on fields in random 2.5-acre grids; this is the most detailed and unbiased sampling that leads to precise recommendations for every grid).
While any soil sampling is better than no sampling, grid sampling is the most precise, offering the clearest picture of what’s happening in the soil across a given field, and it can be replicated year to year,” said Kurtz. Grid sampling also gives growers the ability to precisely apply fertilizer and lime. “With high input prices, grid sampling can be a great tool to [control costs] and make sure we are applying fertilizer where it’s needed.”
Kurtz said, “Overall, soil samples give us a snapshot of the condition of the soil; they make it easier to decide where to spend the dollars on inputs.”
Soil sampling adds value to every product applied to the field, and that makes a big difference when budgets are tight and costs are high.
Talk to your Federated Agronomist to set your sampling plans for this fall.

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