09 Aug Soil Testing – A Valuable Business Decision Making Tool
AgSolutions has developed premium soil and livestock nutrition products, however, our soil test recommendations and advice stretch way beyond our products..
AgSolutions have advanced our ability to support you to develop a strategic direction for your soil and crops with a 3-5 year program. That’s right, a program approach that, depending on the crops you grow, can extend from one to three, or even five years.
Our approach is simple yet critical. Soil testing is the first step and provides about 10% of the information we require. The most important aspect to consider is the history of the paddock. Everything you know about the paddock’s performance, fertiliser history, cropping history, and because soil structure has a direct impact on nutrient availability and biological activity, any soil structural issues.
Seeing that a paddock is not performing or has crusting, sodic, compacted or cloddy soil is obvious. Usually a soil test will confirm this and can also highlight other limiting factors such as a ‘dispersive soil type’ that collapses when wet.
In addition to providing an indication of soil structure problems, a soil test gives an insight into nutrient and fertility availability, nutrient storage capacity, and much, much more.
Elevated levels of Sodium, Chloride or Magnesium on your soil test can confirm a negative effect on soil structure, water infiltration, germination, root growth, nutrient availability and uptake. In particular Nitrogen, Calcium, Potassium, Boron and Zinc availability will likely be impacted in these areas.
Don’t waste your fertiliser $$$
It is important to assess soil test results carefully. Unfortunately, all too often we see Phosphorus fertilisers applied to paddocks where it is not required or will ‘lock up’.
Another common waste we see is where Lime is applied in situations where the Calcium can’t be utilised and the risk of a Calcium overload and nutrient imbalance could do more damage.
We often hear farmers stumble at the cost of $150 for a soil test. Our advice is that you can’t afford not to soil test if you intend to invest $$$ in soil conditioners and fertilisers. If you have an existing soil test, you don’t need to re-test.
AgSolutions can review your soil test at no cost. By fine tuning your soil management program, we can often help you to save $$$… without skimping on productivity!