Why is soil sampling important in agriculture?
Knowing exactly what is in your soil is the first place to start when it comes to producing healthy crops. Different soils have different requirements, therefore your application of nutrients needs to be accurate in order to avoid imbalances that could affect production. Some soils are inherently deficient, while others will be depleted through harvest.
Regular, repeated soil sampling is best management practice. The better you know your soil, the easier it will be to get the best out of it.
What does soil sampling tell you?
Soil sampling indicates what nutrients your soil needs in order to meet the requirements of healthy crop growth, as well as acidity or pH level.
The principles of soil sampling haven’t changed much over the years, however, thanks to the increase in precision agriculture technology, the way we can go about it is now far more efficient and accurate.
Previously, conventional sampling methods would typically represent ~15-20 acre plots. Now, precision ag technology allows for sampling from smaller, more frequent areas. The result is a far more effective fertiliser program with the ability to accurately distribute more targeted amounts of fertiliser to different areas of a field.
Why soil test?
Consider soil sampling like a health check for your farm. There are aspects of your soil that are obvious – it’s structure, texture and colour. However its chemical composition is harder to determine. Regularly checking in with soil samples helps maintain your soil for optimum crop performance.
Benefits to regular soil testing include:
- Maximising your fertiliser dollar
Because you can more accurately assess fertiliser and lime requirements, your fertiliser dollar goes further, reducing wastage and helping you better manage outgoing costs.
- Make more informed management decisions
When is the best time to plant? Which crops will thrive in the right area? Understanding your soil and the impact on crop performance can help you make more informed planting and harvesting decisions that result in a better result for your bottom line.
- Monitor the effectiveness of previous fertiliser applications
Regular sampling shows how well your soil has responded to previous applications, and therefore what adjustments may need to be made to a fertiliser program.
- Keep track of fertility trends over time
With the right technology and software, you can accurately record fertiliser programs and use this data to plan for future resource requirements and budget accordingly.
- Maintain more sustainable land practices
Previous conventional practices have resulted in declines in soil quality, and fertiliser begins to take a toll not only on soil pH levels but also on the environment. More concentrated use of fertiliser is therefore good for your pocket, and the planet.
Soil sample management
Today’s cloud-based agtech tools make it easier for farmers to collect, measure and analyse soil sample data. DecipherAg is one such platform enabling farmers to manage nutrition and information about their land with a much higher level of precision. In-field data is sent to your DecipherAg account giving you a real-time view of samples, from there you can map out management zones which can be used to create accurate nutrition and application plans for your land.
Good productive soils are the foundation of any successful farm. Greater soil health means greater yield. That’s not only good news for farmers, but also for the communities who rely on this produce for nutrience. If you want to boost productivity and profitability for your farm, try DecipherAg for yourself. Get in touch to find out more, or to register for a free trial.
Decipher is transforming the way the agriculture industry manages nutrition
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