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.
The 4R program still is and will continue to be a very important program for the crop nutrition industry.
A thorough understanding of spatial variability in agricultural fields can influence many aspects of nutrient management. Whether it’s what nutrient source to apply, what rate to use, when to make the fertilizer application or what placement method to employ, understanding spatial variability can help growers, advisers, industry and policymakers contribute to more efficient and effective fertilizer management.
The right time to take soil samples is in rhythm with the crop rotation. Normally it’s best to sample following back-to-back plantings of the same crop, which creates a consistent basis for comparing fields and picking out trends over time. Most samples are taken in late summer and fall to allow ample time for planning a crop nutrition program based on the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship — applying the right nutrient source, at the right rate, time and place. But, in a drought, is fall sampling still a good idea? Yes. And the facts support it.
In the summer of 2008, after wet weather in much of the central United States, soils began to dry, and farmers felt an urgent need to get in the field as quickly as possible to prepare soils and plant as the optimum planting window narrowed. As a result, some soils may have been tilled at moisture levels that were prime for increased compaction at the bottom of the implement’s depth of travel. Soil compaction may have also increased more than normal beneath tractor wheels and the tracks of heavy fertilizer, herbicide and seed tender machinery.
The principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship require scientific support for the choice of practices that deliver the right source of nutrients at the right rate, time and place. The science needs to test these practices for their outcomes in terms of economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Every January, millions of resolutions are made to eat healthier, get organized, or stop bad habits. But New Year’s resolutions can be made on the farm, too – especially when it comes to improving your soil fertility.
One of the social requirements of farming today is to run a sustainable business. But that doesn’t mean science should fall by the wayside. Just the opposite, in fact.
States and tribal agencies have had the responsibility in the USA to establish nutrient criteria for water quality protection, based on the Clean Water Act. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 10,000 nutrient and nutrient-related water quality impairments have been listed across 49 states. Some states and tribes have made progress in moving from “narrative” nutrient criteria to “numeric” criteria for protecting surface water resources, while others have faced more challenges.
In his keynote address at the 11th International Conference on Precision Agriculture, Dr. Newell Kitchen, USDA-ARS, highlighted the significant role that nutrient management plays in the industry.