Get a Quality Soil Sample to get most Value
A reputable sample can be little extra cost/ac. and increase value extensively in decisions after.
A good sampling protocol:
- Probe type (a core probe will collect the most consistent sample from every layer).
- Consistent cores per bag (don’t throw out soil from your sample).
- Have min. 15-20 cores from the same location to get a good average for the location (watch for fertilizer band, soil difference, weed patches, etc.).
- Sample the same time in a crop rotation and the same time in the season.
- GPS locate the area and sample the same location so you can compare a sample from one sample year to the next using a repeatable location.
- Label the sample properly and consistently from one year to the next.
- Take two or more samples (analyzed samples) from different locations to compare for example low/high fertility (yield area) as well as other data.
- Compare data from one sample year to the next and check for reliability. Watch trends and plan accordingly.
If your contractor uses a Wintex Agro sampler, GPS equipment with min. sub foot accuracy and mapping technology, you know they take it seriously.
Soil sampling maps are produced in different ways depending on the intended goal and conditions.
- Yield maps are removal maps historical to previous crops.
- EC maps measure salinity differences.
- Drone maps are mostly crop health differences and have to be ground truth-ed to know what they represent. Different seasons, crops, conditions and stresses will represent different data.
- Satellite maps are the same as drone maps, just less resolution.
The points above are the only way to compare data and get trend lines. To get value out of soil sampling, you need to have consistent data and compare from one year. When you start to compare yields, nutrient removal and availability trends with application trends, data quality is important. Farming has changed, and we talk about Precision Farming now, and so should be the basis we use to make decisions.
Short term, you get information on what is available in a specific location. In the long term, the trends will help manage under or over applications helping, your wallet, and the environment..
It is not just the nutrient you apply; it is the balance and placement. Multiple depth sampling will help to manage fertilizer placement.
If you are interested in speeding up your soil sampling, making it more user-friendly and consistent with repeatability, Visit Wintex Agro Canada, or talk to an Ag Business team member.