Soil Testing Can Save $36 per Acre
Boyd Kitchen, USU Extension
How often do you test your soils before fertilizing? Many producers skip the time and cost of a soil test and use a fertilizer mix which is formulated to provide what the average field in the local area needs. If your fields have average soil fertility, this may be a reasonable strategy. However, if your field doesn’t need one or more of the components in the mix, then you‘re paying for nutrients you don’t need. Even more, the mix might not provide all of the nutrients needed by your crops. The solution is to have your soils tested every 2-3 years or whenever rotating into a new crop. Then, you can spend your fertilizer dollar for nutrients that are most likely to give you a return. Last year, the average saving from soil testing was $36 per acre. That makes the cost of a soil test a great investment.
Grass hay, small grains and corn will need nitrogen which can be provided by manure, plowing down a legume crop or from fertilizer. The amount of nitrogen fertilizer needed is best determined from your cropping plans and yield goals.
The best way to determine phosphate, potash and micronutrient needs is to do a soil test. If you would like your soil tested, contact me to arrange for the sampling of your soils.