Soil test results

Help Support CattleToday:

susie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
252
Reaction score
0
Location
Wa state
I just got the results of my soil test and I wondered I could get some help with getting the right fertilizer.
They recommend 160 lbs Nitrogen, 70 lbs of Phosphate, and 10 pounds of sulfur per acre- i only have about 3 1/2 acres of pasture.

I have a couple small cows and a few goats on it. I put the animals on the pasture usually in March, we almost always get a dry spell in August, sometimes i have to take them off the pasture and feed for a couple weeks, in a really dry year. Then in September it greens back up again and I can put the animals back on it until October or so. I rotational graze. Could I time the application of fertilizer to help through that summer slump?
I figure I should break the fert amount into 3 applications or so, 2 in the Spring one in the Fall. Does that seem right?
I'm just not sure how to take those numbers and get a fertilizer :) I would also be interested in chicken manure or some other product could get me near those numbers too, I have a small manure spreader. Would prefer to keep it as inexpensive as I can.

Thanks!

Susie
 

Jogeephus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
24,228
Reaction score
1
Location
South Georgia
Splitting it like you say sounds reasonable to me. I think I'd go ahead and do all the phosphate though - it ain't gonna go nowhere.

Just a question, but being that you are in Washington state, doesn't clover grow really well there? If so, why not plant some of this to cut down on N requirments.
 
OP
susie

susie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
252
Reaction score
0
Location
Wa state
Hi-

I actually have a lot of clover in my fields- i have overseeded some areas in clover quite a few years ago. Does the soil test take into account the amount of clover I might have?
The grass is pretty much what was naturally growing before I got here, which I don't know what it is. Last autumn I overseeded with a mix of Fawn Tall Fescue(endophyte free)/Potomac Orchard Grass/ Tetraploid annual-perennial Rye after I treated the moss and limed the heck out of it.

Susie
 

Jogeephus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
24,228
Reaction score
1
Location
South Georgia
I cannot speak for there, but here the soil test assumes there is nothing there. Here, in a clover field, it is suggested that you reduce the specified amount of N by a certain percentage. (I'm sorry I can't remember what it is for sure but it seems like it was 20%)

edit - you may want to ask your extension agent and let him look at the field. Some clovers will fix upwards to 120 lbs of N an acre. It is slow release N too which is good. If I had a field with a lot of clover in it and I didn't hay it, I'd be hard pressed to put this much N on it. Would definitely do P or K but not N unless it looked peaked. Then I'd only hit it with about 50 lbs. (our soil tests don't register N)
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
6
Location
MO Ozarks
For our soil tests we specify what the field is and what it's for. CSG established pasture, clover fescue pasture establishing, csg hay, etc. The fertilization and lime requirements are then made for that specific use.

If it's pasture, other then N it's pretty much a long term benefit. Most of the stuff removed is recycled right back onto the pasture. Hay is what depletes the existing fertility/ph
 

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
1
Location
SW Wisconsin
Soil tests do not usually test the soil for N (nitrogen). A plant tissue test is usually used for N.

Th eN recommendation on a soil test is usually assuming there is nothing there and based upon what you tell them you want to grow. 160 units (lbs) of actual N, not blend, if that is what they are really recommending is a lot. That sounds like a corn recommendation and even high for that. They must be assuming either corn or hay, and good hay at that.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
6
Location
MO Ozarks
SRBeef":rdg4j6ws said:
Soil tests do not usually test the soil for N (nitrogen). A plant tissue test is usually used for N.

Interesting, ours check for it.
 

Jogeephus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
24,228
Reaction score
1
Location
South Georgia
dun":2pr98xns said:
SRBeef":2pr98xns said:
Soil tests do not usually test the soil for N (nitrogen). A plant tissue test is usually used for N.

Interesting, ours check for it.

Ours don't either but I didn't know how the rest of the world did it. I'm gonna ask why they don't next time I do it.
 

novatech

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,830
Reaction score
1
Location
Brenham, Texas
Jogeephus":3ojltpl7 said:
I cannot speak for there, but here the soil test assumes there is nothing there. Here, in a clover field, it is suggested that you reduce the specified amount of N by a certain percentage. (I'm sorry I can't remember what it is for sure but it seems like it was 20%)

edit - you may want to ask your extension agent and let him look at the field. Some clovers will fix upwards to 120 lbs of N an acre. It is slow release N too which is good. If I had a field with a lot of clover in it and I didn't hay it, I'd be hard pressed to put this much N on it. Would definitely do P or K but not N unless it looked peaked. Then I'd only hit it with about 50 lbs. (our soil tests don't register N)
With the amount they are recommending on P I doubt the clover is producing much N. I have worlds of clover this year but it is producing very little N. I dug some up and found very few nodules on the roots. My soil test says I need 60 lbs. P per acre. Ag agent here says clover can produce up to 120 lbs N per acre but the P and K must be right to do it. He says put the N on second cutting of hay.
Also, I agree with Jo about the application. If the clover is still growing the N may kill it thus loosing the reseed.
All the soil tests I have seen include N. Some around here have had a foliar test done and hit the forage with some liquid a few days before cutting hay.
 

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
1
Location
SW Wisconsin
Jogeephus":y9teohr9 said:
dun":y9teohr9 said:
SRBeef":y9teohr9 said:
Soil tests do not usually test the soil for N (nitrogen). A plant tissue test is usually used for N.

Interesting, ours check for it.

Ours don't either but I didn't know how the rest of the world did it. I'm gonna ask why they don't next time I do it.

I believe the reason that most soil labs don't test for N on a soil sample is that nitrogen is so mobile in the soil that looking at the top 4 to 6", where you are likely taking the soil sample, may not give you a good reading of the nitrogen available to the plant.

Nitrgen fertilizers are water soluble and move with water in the soil. P & K are much more immobile in the soil and therefore a 6" deep sample catches most of the p & k the plant is likely to reach while the same sample may miss much of the N that's there.

Depending on the variety of plant, some plants have a few roots which go down deep for water and in the process they bring up some N. some grasses are NOT deep rooted and for them maybe a 6" soil test covers much of the N they can reach so labs in those shallow rooted grass area maybe do test for N.

Corn for example can have a few roots go down several feet. Corn area soil tests therefore almost never measure the N in the top 6". However most of the root mass of a corn plant is in the "root ball" so P & K + micros in this area are very important.

Trace elements like sulphur can have a big effect on plant growth in very small quantities I usually include these "micro nutrients" in a soil test.
 

Dave

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
10,006
Reaction score
1,720
Location
Baker County, Oregon
Soil tests generally don't test for total nitrogen unless you ask for it. The main reason is that nitrogen is in the soil in a number of forms. The standard test we do through A&L labs tests for nitrate which is the most plant available form of N but also in most cases the smallest portion of total N.
 

novaman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
0
Location
North Dakota
All the soil tests I've seen have total N along with nitrate N. I don't understand why any soil test wouldn't include N. Sure N is mobile but it gives you some sort of starting point to work with when fertilizing with N. Those of you that don't have N on your soil tests, do you just dump on whatever amount of N you feel should do the job? How do you know where you're at?
 

Jogeephus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
24,228
Reaction score
1
Location
South Georgia
This is a quote from Purdue University.

There is no reliable soil test for nitrogen. Therefore, other factors should be considered in planning a nitrogen program. The nitrogen program is the key to a successful turfgrass fertility program.

University of Kentucky

Neither the amount of organic matter nor the amount of nitrate has proven to be a reliable indicator of available nitrogen for field crops grown under Kentucky conditions. For this reason, present nitrogen recommendations for field crops are based on past cropping history, soil management, soil properties, and experimental data.

But to answer your question, our soil tests are crop specific and are based on the needs of the crop under optimal conditions. We base our N rate based on what you think conditions will be. If the grass is irrigated, you'd put the heavy rate on it. If not, you back it down. Takes some experience and luck to hit it right.
 
OP
susie

susie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
252
Reaction score
0
Location
Wa state
The nitrogen recommendation is just a guideline based on the crop I specified ( grass) I found that on the report in the fine print.

I'm going to focus on adding phosphorus and sulfur first and maybe add a moderate amount of N. I see that Bone meal is a good source of phosphorus-- but what about BSE?

thanks-
susie
 

Jogeephus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
24,228
Reaction score
1
Location
South Georgia
I couldn't afford to use bone meal in a pasture situation if I wanted to. More priced toward rose gardens and such.
 
OP
susie

susie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
252
Reaction score
0
Location
Wa state
Hmm you maybe right - I haven't really priced it out yet--
will look for good sources of phosphorus available locally.

susie
 

Stocker Steve

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
11,031
Reaction score
436
Location
Central Minnesota
susie":2efhuctz said:
The nitrogen recommendation is just a guideline based on the crop I specified ( grass) I found that on the report in the fine print.

susie

If you put down that much N you will reduce the amount of clover in the mix. I suggest a max of 40# actual N PER application to maintain a mixed stand.

If you want to increase the amount of clover put down the P,K,S,B recommended, but 20# or less of N PER application.
 

Jogeephus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
24,228
Reaction score
1
Location
South Georgia
I agree with Steve. Keep in mind that all this stuff is a regional thing and some of our recommendations may be correct for our areas and not for yours. There are a lot of differences in region just like the soil test stuff. Not saying anyone is right or wrong. You just have to find what works for you.

I have some bahia grass pastures with clover in them. I do not take anything off of them. Soil test shows that I have the proper balance of elements in these pastures so I don't put anything on them and haven't for years. When fertilizer was cheaper, I used to fertilize these fields regularly and cut any excess growth for hay. Never was too impressed with the hay nor the yield and I found that I had to replenish the nutrients I harvested if I was to keep the soil well balanced. It didn't take me long to figure out that it was cheaper for me not fertilize the pastures and only graze them and make them eat any excess.

To me, the main thing is to get your ph and the P & K right. If you do this, and get water, the rest is easy.
 

Latest posts

Top