Soil testing is among the most vital management practices when it comes to crop production. It is listed as one of the best management practices that have been recommended by industry agronomists, farm managers and consultants for the benefit of their clients who are farmers. This testing is also used by fertilizer dealers as a planning and marketing tool as well as a management support service for their clients. Additionally, it has led to certain environmental benefits resulting from improved management of fertilizer materials and soil resources. Below is a look at the various benefits of carrying out tests on soils.
Periodic soil testing serves as an indicator of whether soil fertility is increasing, remaining constant or decreasing. This is when it is combined with an excellent record-keeping system for each field that includes data on previous soil tests, crop yields, and manure and fertilizer applications. Crop yield and fertilizer use statistics is an indication that soil fertility in most farms may be declining as a result of deficient nutrient management.
There are a number of benefits of testing soils for the farmer. Farmers should utilize this testing as a management tool that facilitates scientifically-sound management decisions concerning their programs for soil fertility. A program for fertility management that is based on this testing improves yields and profitability through the provision of nutrients needed by crops. It increases uniformity of nutrient availability across a farm, something that optimizes response to other management inputs. Also, testing leads to more uniform growth; making individual crops more competitive against weed while simplifying other management practices like spraying and cultivation.
Testing of soil leads to uniformity of plant maturity within a farm, something that simplifies crop marketing and drying while also improving market quality. In addition, fertilizer dollars will be allocated to the nutrients, providing the biggest increase in profit. Intensive variable-rate application of fertilizer and intensive sampling usually enable the fine tuning of fertilizer applications in a farm.
Soil testing also has a number of environmental benefits. Application of fertilizer on a basis of soil tests and rational crop yield goals assist farmers ensure appropriate rates are recommended and then applied. Efficient utilization of plant nutrients achieved by growth of crops means that there is a lesser likelihood of potential losses from surface run-off into waterways or leaching. Field-specific fertility management will ensure that farmers properly identify nutrient needs and also make the right corrective applications of fertilizers.
Holding back needed fertilizers may turn out to be more damaging when compared to application of the appropriate amount of fertilizer in order to produce a high-yielding and profitable crop. This is because crops that are poorly nourished usually leave less plant residue for holding the soil in place. In addition, provision of optimum levels of all kinds of nutrients assists in increasing yields and can help decrease the need for intensive farming on some marginal pieces of land.
Soil testing in based on decades of scientific studies on crop-yield responses to applications of fertilizers, sampling procedures, and how plant nutrients interact with other factors of production. According to scientists, soil tests offer the required information for making sound decisions on the composition and amounts needed to produce high-yield crops.