Soil testing.

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Soil testing.

Feb 6, 2018 | 17:43 1 Haven’t done much but generally if I have a field with lagging yields etc I will sample to find a problem. My question is I would like to get my own probe and do my own sampling but I don’t know what kind of probe or which lab works best for medium textured soils, low leaching (clay base), and 5-7% om. Reason I state this is last time I did a comprehensive farm wide test sampled by local elevator, I had a field which was fertilized with a reasonable 50-20, seeded to cereal forage, and that forage subsequently fed back on that land for 8 years. Test came back the field was deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. I could understand tie up in the extra om but this ground had this program for 8 years. You’d think with added n and time the breakdown would show n at least. I wasn’t there for the sampling so for all I know the fool could’ve cored an oil lease. Anyway following year I grew a 60 bu canola crop with a 60-20-0-10 package. I just want a test that isn’t so out to lunch on recommendations. Reply With Quote
Feb 6, 2018 | 18:23 2 salt problems maybe? Reply With Quote
Feb 6, 2018 | 18:50 3
Quote Originally Posted by MBgrower View Post
salt problems maybe?
What about a solonetzic profile? Soil tests say land is non saline but old maps say this ground is a bit solonetzic. Always wondered if that’s why barley doesn’t bushel out here whereas wheat and canola do well. Another weird tidbit; vet and I were discussing my cows’ salt intake in the winter. Summer time cows intake salt quite normal. One lowland high water table pasture lots of salt but otherwise they eat it. Fall time cows running out picking fields minimal feeding they eat salt. Come winter they’re on hay and green feed, salt intake next to nothing. Anyway vet says I bet your feed has enough salt. Some of the feed is grown on lower ground but 80% is upland slope. A solonetz profile on the slopes could be supplying the extra sodium. Reply With Quote
helmsdale's Avatar Feb 6, 2018 | 18:53 4 In my experience, a Step-on probe is a must... Something that can go at least 12" for nutrient sampling, but would also like 24" or so to check moisture sometimes.

Here's the one I'm looking at for nutrient testing:
https://www.ams-samplers.com/hand-to...tor-probe.html

This one appeals to me since, Exova, the lab i send to, wants a 0-6" and 6-12" sample. A 12" sample is easily separated into two, and if desired the core can remain intact. P and K are taken out of the 0-6", N and S are read in both the 0-6 and 6-12, then aggregated to give estimated N and S levels. Gives me a bit of an idea as to nutrient leaching.

I send my samples away through CPS. Used to get them out to do it for me, but unusual circumstances this year led to sampling only being possible in December once the frost had started to get into the ground. All they have is a step on probe, so I ran around with a generator, large drill, and 1" wood boring auger bit to get my samples this year. 700 or so drilled holes later I finally had my sampling done... Next year, I don't want to be waiting on someone to get out and sample when the conditions are optimal just before freeze up, so I'm hoping to get that gator probe before next fall. Reply With Quote
helmsdale's Avatar Feb 6, 2018 | 18:54 5 I also tried to GPS every hole... That way, year to year, the tests should be as comparable as they can be. Reply With Quote
Feb 6, 2018 | 19:37 6
Quote Originally Posted by helmsdale View Post
In my experience, a Step-on probe is a must... Something that can go at least 12" for nutrient sampling, but would also like 24" or so to check moisture sometimes.

Here's the one I'm looking at for nutrient testing:
https://www.ams-samplers.com/hand-to...tor-probe.html

This one appeals to me since, Exova, the lab i send to, wants a 0-6" and 6-12" sample. A 12" sample is easily separated into two, and if desired the core can remain intact. P and K are taken out of the 0-6", N and S are read in both the 0-6 and 6-12, then aggregated to give estimated N and S levels. Gives me a bit of an idea as to nutrient leaching.

I send my samples away through CPS. Used to get them out to do it for me, but unusual circumstances this year led to sampling only being possible in December once the frost had started to get into the ground. All they have is a step on probe, so I ran around with a generator, large drill, and 1" wood boring auger bit to get my samples this year. 700 or so drilled holes later I finally had my sampling done... Next year, I don't want to be waiting on someone to get out and sample when the conditions are optimal just before freeze up, so I'm hoping to get that gator probe before next fall.
Where is exova out of? I’m in nw sask close to the iron curtain. Reply With Quote
helmsdale's Avatar Feb 6, 2018 | 19:45 7 I submit mine to Medicine Hat CPS and they courier them up to Edmonton. I see there is also a lab in Lloydminster. Whether they do ag soil tests, or just oilfield work I'm not sure. Total cost all in for me was $45/sample. Reply With Quote
makar's Avatar Feb 6, 2018 | 19:45 8 Soil tests are useless to me, they ask for me to apply two to three times of crop removal rates, i would have been done forty years ago listening to them. Reply With Quote
helmsdale's Avatar Feb 6, 2018 | 19:57 9 I've never had suggested application rates>removal rates. This year, it's FAR from it. Have generally found my samples to be reliable. I hate surprises. Following years of lower production, samples have saved me thousands of dollars by not over applying. Also like to track soil PH, EC, and OM over the years. Reply With Quote
Feb 6, 2018 | 21:14 10
Quote Originally Posted by WiltonRanch View Post
.....Come winter they’re on hay and green feed, salt intake next to nothing. Anyway vet says I bet your feed has enough salt......
I wouldn't read too much into that - our cows have always taken very little through winter too. Grass is lush and wet in summer and with hotter weather their need for salt increases, just like ours. If you are using chemical fertilizer where you are growing the winter feed that will lead to higher salt content versus unfertilized forage. Reply With Quote
Feb 6, 2018 | 22:08 11
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
I wouldn't read too much into that - our cows have always taken very little through winter too. Grass is lush and wet in summer and with hotter weather their need for salt increases, just like ours. If you are using chemical fertilizer where you are growing the winter feed that will lead to higher salt content versus unfertilized forage.
True enough. Reply With Quote