Soil Management to Optimize Crop Production in Nebraska

Soil Sampling

Soil sampling is needed to determine soil nutrient needs and optimize fertilizer use and to assess soil variability across the field. See these guides for further information:

Nebraska Fertilizer Nitrogen Recommendations

pale corn plant

Nutrient Deficiencies

Plant symptoms can be used to differentiate and identify crop nutrient disorders. Symptoms of nutrient deficiency vary with variety, growing conditions, and plant age. Similar symptoms may be caused by other abiotic or biotic stresses. Use these symptom keys to help identify nutrient disorders observed in Nebraska corn and sorghum, soybean, or wheat and small grains.

For more information on these and related topics, see the UNL Extension publication, Nutrient Management for Agronomic Crops in Nebraska, EC155, available online, or in soft cover through your local Extension office.

Soil Management Software

Related Articles

Charles Shapiro speaking at a Nebraska Extension field day in the late 1980s.

It is Time to Hang Up the Soil Probe ― Reflections on a Career December 13, 2017

In his final article for CropWatch Nebraska Soil Scientist Charles Shapiro reflects on changes in crop nutrient management practices across his career.

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To avoid compacting more of the field, the grain cart should run down the same row middles as the combine. An auger extension may be needed on the combine to get the wheel tracks to line up. The wheel spacing on the combine, tractor, and grain cart should be adjusted to all run between the rows.
To avoid compacting more of the field, the grain cart should run down the same row middles as the combine. An auger extension may be needed on the combine to get the wheel tracks to line up. The wheel spacing on the combine, tractor, and grain cart should be adjusted to all run between the rows.

Avoiding Compaction at Harvest October 11, 2017

If you're worried about compacting still-wet soils this fall, these recommendations can help you avoid or reduce potential compaction and its effects on next year's yields.

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Illustrating improved soil aggregates from manure applications.

How Manure Impacts Soil Aggregation July 6, 2017

Researchers compare differences between soils fertilized with three types of manure versus commercial products and note four benefits, including an increase in water-stable large macro-aggregates that hold P differently.

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Chart of potential for nitrate-N leaching in spring 2017

Risk of Nitrate Leaching Across Nebraska as of May 21, 2017 May 25, 2017

Following heavy spring rains UNL soil scientists model potential loss of nitrate-N to soil leaching, finding an average 14% loss from mid-April levels, with three sites with much higher losses.

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fertilizer applicator in the field
Figure 1. Fertilizer is one of a farmer's largest inputs and also the one that often varies the most in price from year to year. (Photo by Bob Klein)

Fertilizer Price Changes from 1994-2017 April 25, 2017

Fertilizer, one of the major costs in crop production, changes more in price each year than many other input costs. This articles addresses how farmers can reduce their fertilizer costs by selecting the most economical source for the fertilizer they need.

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