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Reading soil test?

Old 05-09-2011, 06:11 AM
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Fork Horn
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Default Reading soil test?

I am not sure I am reading my soil test right so could someone tell me if I'm right by saying that I could use 200 pounds of 0-20-20 on my 1 acre soybean field? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:11 AM
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200 lbs of 0-20-20 and one bag (or 43 lbs technically) of 0-46-0.

The 200 lbs of 0-20-20 is 40 units of P and 40 units of K. The extra bag of 0-46-0 provides an extra 23 units of P.

That means you would have 63 units total of P, and 40 units of K. Pretty close to the recommendation. Don't forget that 3500 lbs of lime.
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:06 PM
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With a pH of 5.7, the lime is the most important amendment your soil needs. Add the lime and fertilizer, work it into the soil, then plant. If you only want to pay for 1 thing, just add the lime. Your P & K levels are good.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:51 PM
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How long would I have to wait if I spread lime on the future plot? I wanted to plant the beans by Memorial day weekend, or is that out of the question?
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:45 AM
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You can plant them, though you won’t get maximum production. If I recall, soy beans like slightly acidic soil, though 5.7 is lower than they prefer. Still, they will grow. The lime you apply now will help in the future.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:56 PM
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When should lime be applied to be beneficial?
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:14 PM
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Ideally, lime would be applied 6 months-1 year before the crop that needs it is planted. Most people apply it just before planting, and that usually works OK for perennials.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:57 PM
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Throughout history, all farmers and gardeners have faced this dilemma: Why does the food grown on this patch of ground taste better than the food grown on that patch of ground? Why are the cattle grazing on that pasture fat and healthy, while the cattle on this pasture are thin and sickly? Until less than two hundred years ago no one knew, and they had no way of finding out. If they were fortunate enough to have soil that grew flavorful fruit and vegetables, that grew strong stands of grain that made good bread, if they had pastures where the livestock thrived, and they were also good farmers and gardeners, they took care of their land the best they could, returning plant and animal waste to the land as compost and manure. If they didn't return anything to the land, its fertility was soon exhausted

If they were growing crops and animals on poor land, even returning the plant and animal waste to the land didn't help much. They could only truly improve the land by bringing in compost from rich land and manure from animals fed crops grown on that rich land. Organic matter, when dry, contains around 95% fibers and carbohydrates formed from elements in the air and water. If it is burned, 95% returns to the atmosphere as gases. The difference between the organic matter from the rich land and that from the poor land lies in the 5% that is left as ash, and that 5% is the minerals that the plants have taken up from the soil.

The difference between rich, fertile soil and poor, infertile soil is essentially this: the mineral composition of the soil. The flavor and nutrition in fruit, grains, and vegetables are based on the soil minerals available, not the amount or type of organic matter. If a needed mineral is missing, it is just that, missing, and no amount of organic matter will make up for it. No amount or combination of the air elements Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen will add Zinc to your soil, and all plants and animals need Zinc. They also need Copper and Iron and Manganese, Calcium and Magnesium and Phosphorus, and at least seven other essential minerals, and they need them in an available and balanced form. Rotting organic matter may release growth stimulants like Nitrogen and Potassium, but the other minerals are what create sweetness and flavor and nutrition in food. Without these other minerals you may achieve high production, but you will not achieve the highest quality.

That is why, if you are serious about gardening or farming, you must know the mineral content of your soil, and the only way to find that out is with a good soil test.

The last eight or ten thousand years of agricultural history have largely been luck and guesswork regarding soil nutrients. It doesn't need to be luck and guesswork anymore. We now know which minerals plants need to thrive and be healthy, and which minerals must be in the food we feed our animals and ourselves, and we know how much of which mineral and in what form it must be to be used. For those who are paying attention and are willing to learn, this is the dawning of a new age in agriculture. No matter how poor the soil you are starting with, by adding the missing minerals and bringing them into balance, you can create as fine a soil as is found anywhere in the world, and you can do it with precision, not guesswork. Care to re-create the soil of the vineyards of Bordeaux, the buffalo-grass prairies of the Dakotas, or the Nile Valley? It starts with a soil test.

So let's take a look at a soil test. The results below are from good garden soil, from a sample submitted in early 2007. The format is based on that developed by Professor William Albrecht during the 1940s when he was working with the Friends of the Land group at Louis Bromfield's Malabar Farm in Ohio. It packs a lot of information into a small area, and is the same format that we use today at soilminerals.com.

The test gives the results for 11 essential mineral nutrients plus Aluminum and free Hydrogen, pH, Exchange Capacity, and the Base Saturation percentage of the major cations.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:18 AM
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How are you going to spread lime? I've rented a fertilizer spreader from the Co-op (the buggy kind, the kind you tow with a tractor, pto spins the impeller, wheels turn the conveyor) and filled it with lime from the quarry. Then I spread it, someone had to sit in the spreader to feed the lime with a shovel. It cakes up.

I've also spread lime by going to the quarry and having them dump a ton in the back of a pickup. I then drive around and some kid blows it out the back with a leaf blower.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:59 PM
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