The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service's soil testing campaign for the Lower Rio Grande Valley has been extended until March 31 to allow agricultural producers more time to get their soil tested, according to agency officials.
Growers in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties are encouraged to take part in the no-cost soil testing campaign to help the environment and their bottom lines, according to Ashley Gregory, an AgriLife Extension assistant at Weslaco. Gregory works with the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership for the Texas Water Resources Institute.
"Conducted every year since 2001, the soil testing program has been very successful in helping growers know exactly how much residual fertilizer is already in the ground," Gregory says. "More than 5,000 soil samples have been collected since 2001."
By knowing how much fertilizer is in the soil, many growers have been able to cut down on the fertilizer they apply, which can amount to a huge cost savings, especially with rising fertilizer prices, she says.
Growers can pick up soil sample bags and forms from the AgriLife Extension offices in Cameron, Willacy, and Hidalgo counties, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco, says Brad Cowan, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent for agricultural and natural resources in Hidalgo County.
"Growers can also pick up soil testing kits at a field day or other sort of training," he adds. "They can return their soil samples to any of our offices for shipping to the Texas A&M Soil Testing Laboratory in College Station. The analysis is free and results are mailed directly to the grower."
The soil analysis takes the guesswork out of nutrient management, he says.
For more information about the Arroyo Colorado Watershed, you can visit www.arroyocolorado.org online, or for more about the soil testing program, you can contact an AgriLife Extension county office in Hidalgo, Cameron, or Willacy counties.