Soil Samples

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herofan
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Soil Samples

Postby herofan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:44 pm

I know that if a question is ever asked here concerning how to improve a hay field, most people will say, "get a soil sample." With that, I assume that soil samples work for people here. Is that correct?

With that, I've been talking with some people locally, and I can't find anyone that speaks that highly of soil samples, because they say they never see any considerable improvement.

We have a local guy who is a big time farmer worth a couple of million, and I asked his hired hand if he did soil samples, and his reply was, "heck no. He puts triple 19 out every year and puts lime out about every 4 or 5 years."

Apparently, he did samples in years gone by and didn't see any difference.

I won't go into all the different stories of what people told me, but the general idea is that they take a sample, spend a fortune doing what it recommends, and there isn't a dimes worth of difference.

One guy told me that he bought some land several years ago that hadn't been cared for in quite some time. He said he put triple 19 on for a couple of years and saw gradual improvement. He decided to get a soil sample and go with that. He said he did that for three years and said his fields were actually worse than when he was just putting triple 19 so he went back to that and it's better.

Since a lot of people here recommend soil samples, I assume this is not the experience you have.
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kenny thomas
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby kenny thomas » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:55 pm

I soil sample every 3 years and order blended fertilize to match the results. I see a dramatic improvement in my production. In the past one of the fields needed 0-120-0 per acre plus 2 ton lime. I could have guessed the lime but never the fertilize. A farm i bought 10 years ago had 4" red cedar growing and now I'm stockpiling fescue on the same fields. Just bought another 52 acres and will get soil samples and spread lime and fertilize to recommendations before winter.
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Bright Raven
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:58 pm

I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby kenny thomas » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:03 pm

In hay fields yes, but in pasture most of the K is returned to the soil and the levels can get high enough to limit production and also hurt absorption of magnesium.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby herofan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:26 pm

Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


That is the attitude I hear. It's not that anyone is against fertilizing and lime applications, but they just feel they can handle it better without a soil sample, and that doing what a soil sample suggests actually works against them rather than improving.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:32 pm

Soil samples are the only way to know what you have and what you don't in your soil. Your big time farmer doesn't have the yields that he could. Lime is needed on a regular basis around these parts, and if your going to plant clover you better have a ph of 6.5 or better. Different plants and grasses require a different needs.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:34 pm

Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


Is that in you hay fields or everywhere?
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:39 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


Is that in you hay fields or everywhere?


That information comes from the hay producers. Not many farmers here fertilize their pasture. Not a common practice in fact, rare!
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby kenny thomas » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:42 pm

herofan wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


That is the attitude I hear. It's not that anyone is against fertilizing and lime applications, but they just feel they can handle it better without a soil sample, and that doing what a soil sample suggests actually works against them rather than improving.

They may actually save money by putting the correct amount on the crop. Tobacco farmers here always put the same amount without testing. When a very large producer came in and used what's recommended before long many followed along because of less inputs and higher yields.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby kenny thomas » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:47 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


Is that in you hay fields or everywhere?


That information comes from the hay producers. Not many farmers here fertilize their pasture. Not a common practice in fact, rare!

Rare is fine once it's in the condition it needs to be. Nitrogen is the most lost in pasture.
If it produces good without adding anything, great. I would bet if you soil test and use the results it will pay. That said, the soil survey from NRCS can show you the possible productivity of the soil. Adding what's needed to good production soil will have much better results than the same on low production soils.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby kenny thomas » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:48 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


Is that in you hay fields or everywhere?


That information comes from the hay producers. Not many farmers here fertilize their pasture. Not a common practice in fact, rare!

Where I use stockpile a lot instead of hay, my pasture is my production.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby littletom » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:54 pm

Way to much money to buy something you already have. Even if you use as a baseline at least you know whats there. If the ph is jacked up really doesn't what you put on it. On my tobacco we bust big fields in sections to test and fertilize. And grid sample every 3 years. Amazing the differences in a field and how they follow soil type.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:58 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I hear the exact same thing north of you. The big experienced operators tell me, to always put on N and K. Regardless of what the samples say if you want high yeilds.


Is that in you hay fields or everywhere?


That information comes from the hay producers. Not many farmers here fertilize their pasture. Not a common practice in fact, rare!


There's a big difference between hay and pasture in the use of K. I've heard to much K in a pasture can cause the staggers and kill a cow.
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby Texasmark » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:51 am

Soil samples here are tested and recommendations made by the state Ag. college: TAMU. Ten bucks and a few ounces of dirt from several locations around your pasture to be fertilized, in a bag sent to them with planting aspirations will produce for you a lab analysis for where you are and what it will take to get where you want to be.

Obviously your exacting soil/weather conditions/application ability and all the variables can and will modify the results. Other problem is that you have to go to a custom supply house (bulk dealer) to get the exact mix they recommend. For the STO (Small Time Operator) you are left with the bagged variety and have limitations. I usually buy bags of this and that and mix in my applicator when filling to get my desired results.

One thing is for sure. If you want a crop you have to feed it. Food has to come from somewhere besides the contribution made by the atmosphere!
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Re: Soil Samples

Postby herofan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:40 pm

It appears that most here have a positive view of soil samples. I wonder why the people in my area dont experience positive results?
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