As soils dry 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.  A year with above normal rainfall followed by excellent crop yields produced conditions that have allowed many of our soil nutrients to become depleted.  Moreover, fertilizer prices have started to rise again—all the more reason to soil test now to determine which soil nutrients will need to be added for the coming crop season.

How often should I spend the time and money to soil sample? How many samples should I collect in a field? How is the profit from soil testing affected by crop and fertilizer prices?

These are all questions you might ask regarding soil testing your fields. Many farmers agree that soil testing provides important information for fertilizer decisions; however, it is likely that most farmers do not use soil testing on a routine basis.  Research has shown that soil testing, especially for nitrogen, is likely to be most profitable in especially dry or wet years and in years when fertilizer prices are unusually high.