- Determine the nutrient status of a soil.
- Identify nutrient deficiency or excess.
- Form fertilization management program.
- Assess economics of options.
Crop production fields should be sampled at least on a three-year cycle, especially with current fertilizer nutrient costs, says Larry Oldham, Mississippi Extension soils specialist, in a March 3 Mississippi Crop Situation report.
Soil testing, he says, provides information on nutrients in the soil available for plant uptake in the current growing season.
Soil testing programs:
(1) accurately determine the nutrient status of a soil;
(2) convey the seriousness of any nutrient deficiency or excess;
(3) form the basis for fertilization management, including lime programs; and
(4) allow economic assessment of the options.
"Without soil sampling and testing, we do not have an accurate beginning for the nutrient management program," he says.
Read more at Begin the Nutrient Management Season the Right Way.