TISSUE (AND SOIL) TESTS TELL ALL

Jun 08, 2020


Early in the growing season, what you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to plant health. Deficiencies may not be evident but yield loss may have already begun. Tissue sampling/testing is an effective way to determine whether crops have the nutrients needed to yield well.

A complete tissue test will check levels of N, P, K, Mg, Ca, S, Na, Fe, Mn, Cu, and Zn.

“A plant tissue test alongside a soil test in the same area [of the field] can give complementary information, said Brad Hipsag, Federated ag sales rep at the Ogilvie location. Before visual symptoms appear, the tissue and soil samples make it possible to proactively address deficiencies.

If visual symptoms are already present, a tissue sample is the best way to determine the underlying cause. Hipsag provided these guidelines for sampling:

  • for young corn or soybean plants up to 8 inches tall, cut off the plant at the base and sample the whole plant;
  • for plants over 8 inches tall, take the top collard leaf in corn, and take the top fully developed trifoliate in soybeans;
  • for any crop, take at least 15 plants for one sample; choose the healthiest plants or leaves.

Since samples are sent to a lab for testing, submit samples early in a work week so they don’t sit and dry out over a weekend. Dried out samples can skew the results. (See this Midwest Laboratories document for additional tissue sampling information.)

Once test results come back (within about one week), your Federated Agronomist can help you determine the best options for this crop health and yields this year and beyond.

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