Soil sampling is a fundamental component of any cropping plan. Several universities have proven that soil testing is the single most important guide to the profitable application of fertilizers and lime. At Progressive Ag Center, LLC, we use an intensive grid soil sampling program as the base for our GrowMor Precision Ag program. Accurate grid soil sampling is the first step to getting the most economic return on your precision farming investment.
The key to a good soil sampling program starts with a quality soil sample. To accomplish this, we’ve teamed up with two key partners. The first, Advanced Crop Management (ACM) from Algona, Iowa, has provided us with professional field crews since 2007 that complete all in-field operations. These operations include creating GPS boundaries, crop splits, and sample grid layouts, as well taking the actual samples. All ACM staff are highly trained individuals that use solid agronomic sampling procedures so you can have confidence that a quality soil sample is taken. We utilize our second partner, Midwest Labs in Omaha, Nebraska, for the analytical testing of our soil samples. Midwest Labs is an accredited testing laboratory that we feel brings our customers the utmost in timely, accurate, and dependable soil test data.
Grid samples are taken using a 2.5 acre grid pattern layout. By doing this, we can manage the soil nutrient spatial variability throughout the field regardless of the soil types located within the field. This grid sample size allows for fertilizer prescriptions to be optimized and the chance of a return on the investment improved.
Once the grid sampling results come back from the lab, the results and maps are compiled into a soil testing results book, which are then distributed to our growers for their fields. This is the start of a customized fertilizer and lime recommendation plan tailored to zones throughout each field.