Helena Reveals Lessons Learned from Tissue Sampling
Tissue sampling has been used by farmers for decades to monitor plant health. The challenge has always been how to best apply the knowledge it provides. There are a variety of different factors impacting nutrient levels in plants from application practices and fertilizer inefficiencies to changing environmental conditions. Steve Seamon, National Marketing Manager of AGRIntelligence® at Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC, says it’s the job of skilled agronomists to put the pieces together and create plans farmers can execute.
“Farmers produce so much data, and it can be overwhelming to figure out how to manage it all,” says Seamon. “With AGRIntelligence, we put the puzzle together for you. We’re combining innovative technology with our years of experience to help you figure out why you’re encountering certain problems on your farm and what you can do to make better decisions moving forward.”
Extractor® is Helena’s AGRIntelligence service designed to identify and correct nutrient deficiencies in a growing plant. It’s used to monitor tens of thousands of tissue samples every year, and the results show there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrient management.
“The great thing about Extractor is its ability to adapt,” says Seamon. “The tools, techniques and strategies we use are always changing based on conditions in the field.”
Sufficiency ratings were developed as far back as the 1970’s. While they remain the basis for measuring nutrient levels in plant tissue, crop yields and varieties have changed significantly. Instead of a generic recommendation, the Extractor report takes all of the variables affecting crop performance into account. Using historical data and local reporting from agronomists nationwide, Extractor provides tailored recommendations to meet nutrient demand during key growth stages and address geographical needs.
Extractor samples can also now be geo-referenced and housed in Helena’s exclusive AI360® software alongside other crucial information, including soil test data, yield trends and crop varieties. This kind of in-depth analysis reveals important relationships. For example, four out of the top six most deficient nutrients identified by Extractor tissue samples are also identified as the top four most deficient soil test nutrients. Those nutrients are potassium, sulfur, zinc and boron. This clearly shows the importance of monitoring these nutrient levels regularly.