From A&L Labs, Sept 2012:
Don’t wait for a rough field, get in behind the combine for ease of sampling (smooth field) and use the stubble visual assessment as another tool to identify field variability!
- Allows more time for recommendations (could be fall applied fertilizer)
- Work when the weather is favorable
- Quicker sampling with smooth fields
- Better field observation on growth basis stubble variability
- A winter crop is being grown now (Winter Wheat; Fall Rye)!
The only concern with early sampling will be additional mineralization of nitrate nitrogen. If we have an open warm fall with good soil moisture we could see an additional 10-15 lbs. of nitrate convert and could be factored into an early soil analysis. Most all other extractions and analysis on a soil test will be stable.
Factors that affect nitrate conversion are:
- Day tested to where the soil temperature drops below 7-8 Celsius
- Moist or dry fall soil
- Soil Organic matter %
- Field worked or left as is
If we tested now, it rained, stayed warm for another month, had high organic matter and the field was worked, we would expect the higher end of nitrate nitrogen conversion. As you take away from the variables above start moving the nitrate nitrogen conversion back to the lower end of the scale.
Unsure if you need to soil test this year? We’ve got your checklist!
For consistent and reliable results, Decisive Farming uses Sure-Check™ Soil Testing. That’s because it relies on the same experienced Technicians and Laboratory Analysts in order to ensure consistent results from start to finish, each and every time. Sure-Check establishes a reliable baseline measure that lets you know if your fertilizer program is working.