Take advantage of fall soil sampling

August 31, 2021
Mark Herz, technical product specialist, CHS Agronomy, discusses the benefits of fall soil sampling and using that data to build a foundation for future growing seasons.

Following the combine with strategic soil sampling can yield several benefits, says Mark Herz, technical product specialist, CHS Agronomy.

Fall soil sampling sets the stage for the next season’s crop, , says Herz. “You need good data, so you can make good decisions. The first layer of data is soil analysis. That’s the foundation for putting together a solid plan going into next year.”

Good data leads to good decisions

Herz says taking quality soil samples is essential to obtaining quality data.

“You want representative samples going into the lab, so you get representative data that covers most of your acres,” Herz says. “You may want to pull out your soil survey map and look at the soil types. In some cases, a field might be 90% one soil type and 10% another soil type. In that case, I would only sample the 90% — the majority soil type — because that’s going to be most representative of that field.

“Another field may have a 50-50 split between two soil types. if you make one composite sample for the field, you’re only going to get data on the average ; you’re not going to hit the bullseye on assessing both soil types. I’d consider pulling two separate samples, sending them to the lab and managing them separately.”

Performing a postharvest soil test enables you to learn a lot about what your fields need and how to prepare for the next season –  and the seasons after that. “It’s a continual process,” says Herz. “When you’re sampling multiple years, you’re building a database and trendlines. You’re layering that with your yield history and your applications. The goal with all of this is to become as efficient and profitable as you can be.”