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The When, How and Why of the Soil Test

November 19, 2010
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Farm Journal Machinery Editor and Test Plot Director
 
 

In episode 4 of Corn College TV, reach into the farmer’s toolbox with Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie to learn the keys to soil sampling. Reinforce the importance of soil sample.

“Soil fertility is a foundation block in the Systems Pyramid,” Ferrie says. “Take time to do it right—it’s a crucial piece to do it right.”

He says the frequency of the soil test depends on your practices, but he recommends at least every two year. Testing every 5 years is not going to be effective to learn the information needed to management soils.

“Our frequency allows us to micromanage soil pH and really fine tune lime applications,” he says.

One piece of advice Ferrie has is to look for the soil fingerprint.

“If it’s a certain type of soil, it needs to look like it,” he says. “This will confirm the soil map is correct and the soil testing crew is in the right area of the field.”

Learn more in Episode 4 of Corn College TV.  

episode4 soiltest

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