Agronomist encourages getting good soil samples now

An agronomist says with the high cost of fertilizer, investing in good soil samples can pay off.

Scott Rountree is with Pioneer in Wisconsin. He tells Brownfield, “Knowing exactly what’s out in those fields, I’d stress the importance of grid or zone soil sampling and knowing what your P and K levels are out in those fields.”

Rountree says farmers benefit from knowing exactly what is in the soil at many points in the field, especially on rented acres where farmers often manage for minimum input. “Sometimes, you know, even a ton or two of lime can make a lot of the fertility that’s out in that field more available to the plant, and fixing pH for ten to twenty bucks an acre is a pretty good investment on a lot of these acres.”

Rountree says if a field hasn’t been sampled before, or if it’s been a while, farmers need to get a baseline so they can make better fertilizer decisions. “Your basics of organic matter, c exchange capacity, pH, phosphorus, and potassium. Those are probably the biggest five things that most basic soil tests are going to have, and often you can get that done for less than ten dollars per acre having that sampled and having the analysis run.”

Rountree says with a grid or zone map of fields, farmers can work with their fertilizer sources to use variable-rate technology and apply only what is needed where it is needed.

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