Making sustainable farming profitable
SOIL TESTING AND INTERPRETATIONS
- Usually for the purposes of developing a specific fertiliser program.
- Usually 1-2 months pre-plant so results may guide pre-plant fertiliser applications if relevant.
- Early in-crop soil testing is becoming more popular where quantifying potential nitrogen requirement is critical
- Totals testing (nutrient reserves) is encouraged on 1-2 sites initially and again every 3-5 years.
- Detailed testing can be carried out where specific issues are being investigated. For example; to determine soil properties when ground-truthing management zone differences.
Sometimes existing soil sample results are used but mostly clients want soil sampling done which is usually carried out by contractors although FARM takes samples at times also. Sub-samples are usually taken on 8 points of the compass around a 30m diameter circle in an area representative of the zone or at a geo-tagged location from previous sampling.
When samples arrive at the lab by Friday, the raw results are usually available the following Friday and sent straight to you in the raw form with a request for further discussion regarding relevant details to identify options and to make a written recommendation within a few days.
PLANT AND GRAIN TESTING
- Usually tissue testing at key growth stages.
- Used primarily as a feedback mechanism for how things are going given the season, situation and inputs so that better decisions can be made next time.
- Plant tissue test results may be useful for trouble-shooting or to guide in-crop nutrient application recommendations.
- Sap testing is available and an interesting source of additional information. Reliability of results are variable given the more immediate effect of environmental factors such as sampling time of day, cloud cover, etc.
- Grain analysis
- A good check on protein (nitrogen) and other nutrient levels
- Grain nutrient analysis can identify factors that may have limited production.
- Farmers are encouraged to submit their own samples at planned locations and growth-stages or milestones.