Carbon is the currency of nature: the backbone of soil organic matter and the energy source for soil microorganisms. Therefore, much interest in soil health focuses on increasing carbon storage in soil. When you reduce tillage or increase crop rotation diversity, you expect soil organic matter to increase. However, soil organic matter often change slowly for several years. In fact, less than 1% of plant biomass carbon returned to soil eventually becomes stable humus organic carbon.
Each harvest comes with a degree of soil nutrient removal, depending on the crop and yield. Consider a fall fertilizer application to maintain nutrients in the soil after harvest and prepare fields for the 2021 growing season. Read on to learn how interpreting soil test results and strategic application timing can set you up for success next year.
As growers prepare to get into the field, consider offering these tips to help evaluate their needs. Ensure all bases are covered before they get seed in the ground during this time of uncertainty.
Five things to consider to get your growing season off to the best start possible.
Volatile prices, changing foreign markets and weather events represent some of the uncontrollable factors facing farmers every year. As you look to limit that risk by eliminating yield-inhibiting factors, you may want to start with the soil beneath their feet. Making sure your soil is up to the challenge of the upcoming season is the first step toward minimizing risk.
When it comes to crop nutrition and your soil fertility plan, you need to make sure you've dotted your i's and crossed your t's. Checklists aren't for everyone, but defining a clear process to ensure you are properly covering bases is critical in the execution of a successful nutrient management plan. Feel free to use and print the Soil Fertility Checklist below as your starting point.
Even before the 2013 crop is in the bin, growers should begin putting thought into how they will proactively manage their 2014 fertility programs. One of the most important investments made in a crop season, a fertility program should be looked at holistically, and involve preparatory steps and decisions long before winter’s downtime.
Soil sampling has adapted and evolved over time. As genetics, crop nutrition, equipment and precision ag technologies have matured, so has the need for more advanced soil sampling in the field.
When an agronomist visits a field to diagnose a problem, it’s not unlike a doctor attempting to uncover the source of a patient’s discomfort.
Whether striving to reach 300-bushel-per-acre corn, 80-bushel-per-acre soybeans or just steady yield growth on their acreage, farmers are focused on continuous improvement. As Michael Porter’s quote suggests, this type of continuous improvement goes hand in hand with strategy. Farmers who commit to a regular soil-sampling strategy, for example, often make more-informed decisions about their farm’s ongoing productivity.