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I sent some soil test to 2 labs
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Posted 10/18/2020 09:53 (#8551491 - in reply to #8551320)
Subject: RE: I sent some soil test to 2 labs

WC Mn/Dakotas
jd43 - 10/18/2020 08:40

The samples were sent to Penn State were I've always sent them. I also sent 1/2 of the same sample to Spectrum Analytic in Ohio through our Growmark rep.. I posted it because I've always felt if I need a second opinion for my health. I should get one for my soil health as so far in life I've spent way more on soil health than my own. I mostly use the lab to get soil ph for our rotation of spreading lime. Phosphorous levels are always good here. Potash is what vary depending on crops but try to maintain the optimum level on all ground. I knew there would be a difference between labs but not that much. Precision Ag is a buzz word when you can't even get a solid basis to use it.

Anyone that splits a sample has 110% signaled how little they understand about the science of taking samples or obtaining scientific laboratory results. Soil analysis labs have zero to do with Precision Ag, that's what the grower does. Labs are not the place for nutrient recommendations, again that is what the grower (or his agronomist) is supposed to do.

Precision ag creates the map that shows the soil sampler where to pull samples. Then its up to the sampler to pull good, accurate, consistent, uncontaminated cores. Precision ag takes the yield data to accurately drive how much fertilizer goes where. But not just any data, you need good data, then clean it and adjust it. Equipment needs proper calibration of combines and fert applicators.

I have yet to see a grower doing much of anything truly scientific in a day to day operation, and that's fine, that's reality. But of all the steps there are in Precision ag that are dependent the grower and only the grower, to say that Precision ag can't work because a LABRATORY can't return a consistent number from inconsistent sampling techniques is beyond insane. If you can't get Precision ag to be successful, I guarantee there are dozens of things the grower needs to adjust in their operation before I would worry about lab results being the biggest problem.

I see many growers that fancy themselves as users of Precision ag, but so much of it is flawed terribly. Precision ag is not all as easy hitting the auto steer button and sitting back. I'm sure its different everywhere, but here, there is $50-200/acre potential awaiting for any grower willing learn, adapt, and execute true precision ag. The key is they need to understand more of the details and spend more time going over the data. You can't just expect everyone else to come up with answers, decisions, prescriptions, etc for you. It takes commitment and input and extra work on the growers part.
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