Following heavy spring rains, farmers may be interested in testing for soil nitrogen availability. This article notes a new publication from Iowa State University on using the Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test (LSNT) as well as other options for assessing soil nitrate.
Farmers are increasing their soybean plantings for 2017, which likely means some are shifting to soybeans-after-soybeans. This article looks at what you should be considering at planting time as you consider changing your cropping sequence.
As you evaluate the cost of inputs, consider this: Only focusing on expenses without subsequent income changes is misleading. The most profitable plan uses the most profitable inputs. Is a starter fertilizer one of those inputs? The authors look at university and grower research under various conditions to see when a starter fertilizer offers economic benefits.
Manure offers crop production wins by providing valuable nutrients and helping build soil organic matter and an active soil microbial community. Soils with organic matter levels on the low end of their typical range can benefit the most from manure applications that do not exceed the crop’s nitrogen requirements. Organic matter also improves soil aggregates which in turn helps increase infiltration of precipitation and irrigation water, improves water-holding capacity of the soil, and reduces runoff and erosion. Soils with these characteristics experience greater drought tolerance.
Soil testing and applying only the soil nutrients needed to produce your yield goal can provide a significant savings in fertilizer costs. Nebraska research shows growers can save as much as $52.12/acre for postponing phosphorus, potassium and zinc applications.