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Soil Analysis
Still time to test soils this spring?

The late, wet fall did more than stretch out harvest. Some fields scheduled for soil testing weren’t sampled. Can you still pull them now? Or should you wait until fall, basing fertilizer rates now on previous soil tests?

Wise liming choices bring big results

Lime neutralized Jim Book’s crop problems.

Get soils ready to play in tune

Like a score to a piece of music, the soil test is a guide to which “notes” are being played underground, which are too loud and which are silent.

Is it time to sample soil?

When I was working in retail ag, fall dry fertilizer spreading season always had a certain rhythm to it: Every year fertilizer left our plant as we spread it and came back in, as delivery trucks refilled our stocks. The cycle went on for weeks, as we handled thousands of tons of fertilizer. Several times each season, we had to get out tape measures and calculators to physically inventory our stocks so we could be sure that what was in the shed matched what the books

Still time to test, apply fertilizer

Early harvest and a long, dry fall usually mean plenty of time to soil test and apply fertilizer. Many of you have applied lime and fertilizer, whether you could pull a soil test or not. Extremely dry soils complicated pulling soil samples.

Dig into science behind dry soil sampling

The soils in much of Indiana were very dry this fall. How does that affect soil sampling results?

Some soil sampling guidelines for dry fall

You’re on a soil testing program. Perhaps you test soils every two years, maybe every four years. Maybe your local fertilizer dealer offers a soil consulting service. Whatever the case, you’re at a crossroad. What do you do about soil testing since fall was so dry?

MU test revisions aim to meet crop needs

Good news for patient crop farmers: Soil test reports and fertilizer recommendations from the University of Missouri soil lab will be updated by 2012.

Plant and soil test reveal zinc level

As we round the corner on winter and head into spring, there are many final decisions that growers need to make to prepare for the upcoming season.

Don’t overreact to low pH levels in the fall

Chicken Little thought the sky was falling. It wasn’t. If you or a consultant pulled soil samples last fall before it rained and pH levels were low, let common sense prevail.

High yields pull out nutrients

Corn is king for Tom Boyd, his son Trent, and son-in-law, Logan Graber, Washington. A large percentage of their flat, productive soils consistently produce above-average yields.

Try taking refresher course in Crops 101

The FFA and 4-H crop judging champions were crowned just before Christmas. One activity contestants must do is complete a 40-question quiz about modern crop production. In the true spirit of the TV show “Are you as smart as a fifth grader?”, here’s your chance to see if you can match wits with six-graders through seniors who participate in crops judging.

Saline soil solutions

Crop losses due to saline soils are mounting. More than 2 million acres are affected in the Red River Valley alone, and the economic impact is estimated to be $80 million to $100 million annually.

EC mapping surveys field’s clay pan

Researchers are finding new tools to better assess clay pan for producers seeking the best root zone preparations.

State producers face challenges managing soil pH

In many instances on the farm, the word “fixed” is used to describe the known and understood factors impacting the grower’s business and profitability.

Get the most value from manure resource

There was a time when livestock producers considered manure as a waste problem. With skyrocketing commercial fertilizer costs in recent years, both livestock and crop producers now think of manure as a valuable resource.

Heed soil status when irrigating manure

Michigan livestock farms are catching and storing more manure containing a high amount of rain and resulting runoff in an effort to protect surface water quality around the farmsteads. As a result, more irrigation systems have been installed to land-apply these manure streams. The basic principles of manure application correlate to manure irrigation plus some additional safeguards.

Study looks at how tillage impacts soil

Soil scientists with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are currently working on a project that will help farmers understand how tillage methods impact soil quality.

N rates improved

On Dec. 1, the new North Dakota spring wheat and durum nitrogen rate recommendations were unveiled. The new rates are the product of North Dakota research since 1970. Archived data represents about half of the data, and field research from 2005-2008 represents the other half of over 100 site-years of N rate studies.

Take action now to fight SCN

Soybean cyst nematode continues to spread north. SCN is present in many eastern and central South Dakota counties. This year, we discovered a field in the Red River Valley by Kent, Minn., and I’ve heard of other fields recently identified in Barnes and Trail counties in North Dakota. These are in addition to locations found previously in Cass and Richland counties in North Dakota.

Increase crop fertility with liquid manure

Spreading manure is a sophisticated business these days. For farmers who know the quantity of nutrients available in the manure, it is simply utilizing a resource from the operation. For Kurt and Wayne Kaup of K and W Farms at Stuart, applying liquid manure from their 26,000-head hog wean-to-finish operation is a standard practice.

Cover crops make N available

In research plots at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro, N.C., George Naderman, a retired Extension soil specialist and an associate professor emeritus at North Carolina State University, measured from 100 to 200 pounds more of nitrogen in the top 5 inches of soil where conservation tillage had been used for six crop years, compared to conventional tillage. Researchers had put on the same amount of N on both fields during operations.