Soil testing crucial now
NOW IS the ideal time to identify parts of your farm that require up-to-date soil analysis and plan to have soil samples taken over the coming months. This is vital to ensure that crop nutrient requirements are satisfied -- and it will help avoid either under-fertilising or over-fertilising crops for next year.
Fertilisers now form a large proportion of production costs and will have a large influence on farm productivity and profitability.
Always remember, soil test results are only as good as the soil sample taken.
It is essential that soils are sampled correctly and taken with a suitable soil corer to the correct sampling depth.
The following should be considered when doing a sample:
- Sampling areas should be 2-4ha in size;
- Avoid any unusual spots such as old fences etc;
- Sample the top 10cm of soil with a suitable soil corer;
- Leave four to six months between sampling and organic manure or chemical phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) applications;
- Take representative soil sample (follow a 'W' soil sampling pattern);
- Take around 20 cores to make up the soil sample.
Fertiliser efficiency will be reduced where the soil pH is below the optimum. To maximise both production and economic response from applied N, P and K fertilisers, it is essential to lime soils to increase soil pH to target levels.