Zinc (Zn) has been put to work on farms for decades. Fencing wire and nails are galvanized with zinc to prevent rust. Metal buckets are coated with Zn to last longer. However, Zn’s most important job is in the field, as one of the 16 essential elements in plant growth.
Tissue testing and plant analysis date back to the 19th century. Since that time, considerable research has been devoted to refining these tools for assisting farmers to efficiently manage crops
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.
Corn yields today are skyrocketing. In the next decade, Americans will be producing 17 billion bushels of corn each year, compared to 12.4 billion produced in 2011. Making sound soil management decisions will be increasingly important to boosting corn yields to produce the food the world needs.