Soil Testing – Lots of Growth Opportunities

While I’m a big supporter of precision ag as a means to collecting data for better decision making, I was reminded recently we can’t lose sight of the fundamentals like soil testing, as boring as this may sound to growers. A 2015 Olds College survey by students highlighted the need to keep soil testing front and center. Forty six percent of respondents only soil sample occasionally. Seventy-eight percent of farmers that use soil sampling see the information as useful, and 22% responded say they would consider zone sampling in the future.
Why Farmers in Western Canada Use or Don’t Use Soil Sampling as Part of Their Nutrient Management Planning

  • 78% of farmers had soil sampling done sometime in the past
  • 22% had never used soil sampling
  • 23% soil sample every 2-3 years
  • 29% soil sample to [...]

Every few years it seems base saturation rises as a winter topic as a means of making fertilizer recommendations. While base saturation has been used to determine whether a soil should be limed or not, it’s not a soil testing index, nor should be accepted broadly as an indicator for nutrient fertility. Developed for low CEC soils and highly weathered low pH soils, but not meant for many areas in Canada including Western Canada
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