A quality soil sample is the starting line. It is impossible to maximize the productivity of every acre without completely understanding the fertility variable within your fields. Whether you farm fairly uniform or highly variable ground, nutrient levels in your soils will vary from place to place within a field. There are many strategies that we can use today to “fine-tune” management in order to increase efficiency and yield. Throughout this process, we know that understanding what the fertility is doing throughout your field is critical.
When having a company take your soil samples, always ask these questions:
What are you testing for? We offer a complete soil test including results on Organic Matter, Available Phosphorus (P1 Weak Bray and P2 Strong Bray), Exchangeable Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Hydrogen, Soil pH, Buffer pH, Cation Exchange Capacity, and Base Saturations of Cation Elements. If you have specific requests, we do have the ability to customize our sample results to meet your needs.
What is your process for pulling samples? We have multiple hydraulic probes mounted on heavy-duty field units to insure accurate depth and consistency of cores. We take a minimum of 12 cores per sample, and have the ability to take many different sizes of grids. Soil samples are taken consistently at an 8 inch depth with an automatic probe mounted on our machines. We go the extra mile for every customer to insure quality throughout the process. In high residue situations, we either clear crop residue from the surface before we pull the cores or we clean excess residue out of the sample before placing it in the bag. Also, as the sampling process is underway, we never hold soil for more than 2 days before it is sent to the lab. State of the art technology is used in every effort to insure the accuracy and purity of each sample we take.
What time of year do you pull samples? As you manage fertility on your farm, you need to maintain consistency in sample timing. We recommend that we do as much in the fall as possible, and do 95% of our samples before the winter freeze.
If I hire you to sample my field(s), who owns the data? If you have paid for these services, you absolutely own the data. This may seem obvious to most, but it is not always clear with some companies. We think it is important to be careful who has access to your data. We have a secure server where we store this data, and it is available to you or anyone you wish to share it with at any time.