Producers can gear up for next year’s growing season by soil sampling now to determine the status of soil nutrients in fields and pastures. Fertilizer prices remain a significant input cost, meaning the bottom line for farmers and ranchers hinges on close scrutiny of this input. Efficient use of nutrients, as well as smart shopping, will be crucial for successful producers. A good soil sampling program can help growers make those wise shopping decisions.

Fertilizer prices are fixed by demand and high demand translates to high prices for fertilizer. As growers chase greater yields to take advantage of rising commodity prices the cost of fertilizer will continue to rise because of demand for these inputs. Prudent growers can reduce fertilizer costs by crediting themselves for any residual fertility in their soils and only applying what is needed to meet their realistic yield goal.

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Soil testing should be the basis for any fertility program on any crop. Soil tests can be used to estimate the kinds and amounts of soil nutrients available to plants and aid in determining fertilizer needs. Properly conducted soil sampling and testing can be cost-effective indicators of the types and amounts of fertilizer needed to improve crop yield.

The Coastal Bend Soil Testing Campaign, coordinated by local offices of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is now underway through November 15. Soil samples may be turned in at your local extension office for analysis at up to 33 percent reduced testing fee.

Soil tests will be analyzed by the Texas A&M University Soil Testing Laboratory. This special soil testing campaign is for local row crop farmers and ranchers with improved pastures. Soil sample bags and test information sheets may be obtained from the Nueces County Extension Office at (361) 767-5223.

Also of interest:

Soil quality tips shared with Blacklands farmers at Stiles Farm Field…

Bill Gates finds fertilizer fascinating

Fall applied fertilizer may not be best bet for Oklahoma