Test soil to save on expensive inputs

Test soil to save on expensive inputs

23 August 2023

The shortage, and price increase, of nitrogen fertilisers can be mitigated by a more thorough understanding of soil fertility and plant available nutrients.

Farmers and growers can use our soil tests to better understand nutrient levels at the start of the season. This is particularly important for broad acre crops before drilling to ascertain what levels of nutrients are present in the soil stock and will be available to the plant.

Fertilisation Manager measures soil fertility including the chemical values of macro and micronutrients, soil pH, and the overall structure of the soil. The number and nature of the bacteria present in a soil sample facilitates the accurate calculation of what nutrients need to be added to the soil to optimise plant health and growth. This will help growers calculate the optimum amount and avoid overuse which should reduce costs.

Natural alternatives such as slurry and digestate are being advocated as a way to reduce input costs and make the most of what many see as a waste rather than a natural fertiliser. Arable farmers could work with local livestock farms to relieve them of slurry, especially now that storage and spreading regulations are becoming more challenging. If the natural waste product is tested to establish its value, then an accurate calculation can be made to establish the amount required per acre.

To better understand the relationship between soil inputs and the crop, a further test, Soil Crop Monitor, is also available which analyses both the soil and the plant. It does so by measuring the plant available nutrients and the nutrients absorbed by the crop. This will help monitor and measure the level of inputs needed for a specific crop based on what the soil is able to offer throughout the growing season, which will help control costs by managing any inputs needed more closely.