3 Steps Today can Improve Soil Fertility in 2020
As focus shifts from this year’s harvest to next year’s planting season, soil fertility rises to the top of the to-do list. Helena Agri-Enterprises recommends taking three simple steps now to impact your soil fertility in 2020.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Program
If you took tissue samples in 2019, what do the results tell you? A tissue sample is the best way to judge the effectiveness of your soil fertility program. In approximately 2,500 tissue samples taken this summer throughout the Midwest, we found a high incidence of low or deficient phosphorus. This is likely a result of the above-average yields we’ve experienced in recent years. For example, a 200 bushel per acre corn crop followed by 60 bushel per acre soybean crop removes 110 units of phosphorus and 132 units of potassium from the soil. If those nutrients aren’t replaced, the soil can’t maintain adequate levels year after year.
Step 2: Take a Soil Sample
Where does your soil fertility stand today? A soil sample can give you the answer. There are a lot of different ways to take a soil sample, but spatial soil samples will give you the most accurate results, which lead to better fertilizer recommendations.
Step 3: Use Variable Rate Fertilizer Applications
Once you’ve taken stock of your soil fertility program and identified your needs, it’s time to consider variable rate fertilizer applications. Variable rate applications allow you to place the fertilizer where it’s needed most. You can often take this approach using the same dollars per acre as a straight rate application, but get better yields in return. That’s because you’re basing placement on soil test levels and crop needs. This is especially important when working with modern-day hybrids and varieties requiring precise macro and micronutrient supply to reach maximum yield potential.
Helena is here to help you with every step of your soil fertility planning. Our AGRIntelligence® tools use tissue and soil sampling and analysis to create custom soil recommendations that determine the most efficient nutrient blends for your field. To get started, contact your local Helena location to learn how AGRIntelligence can transform your soil fertility program in 2020.