Taking Soil Sampling to the Next Step
Soil sampling can often be overlooked as a simple seasonal practice, but in today’s age, its value is considered undeniable. Whether you’re putting together a yearly fertility plan or considering investing in a new piece of property, soil sampling can save you some major headaches down the road. As environmental concerns continue to grow, it is critical that proper sampling and recording measures are being taken into account. Ground water contamination and nitrogen restrictions are already being
put into play by certain states, and it may not be long before they become standard practice as well. By using proper sampling techniques, you can gain valuable knowledge regarding your farmland and establish a record of data that can be used and accessed for years to come.
So, what’s different from soil sampling now versus 30 years ago? Simple. Technology has taken it to a whole new level. Although GPS may not be a new term, the current capabilities of what we can do with GPS have allowed growers to manage their farms in a whole new way. Data can be stored from a soil sample site and accessed for years to come. Along with lab data, we can overlay yield information, EC mapping and more to fine tune a custom fertility and amendment program that can be applied using
variable rate application. With advancements in technology, variable rate seed and irrigation are now options that can be utilized like never before. None of this can be made possible without soil sampling.
Depending on crop and soil conditions, sampling can be done in a variety of ways from composite sampling of an entire field to a more rigorous site specific project involving multiple samples and multiple depths. No two fields are the same, making it important to decide what mode of action is the best route for your budget. If variable rate technology is something that might be a good fit for your operation, it is important to remember that multiple samples and zones must be established. By strategizing your sampling techniques, you can create the best farm management decision.
- Christina White, Precision Information Specialist