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What are the risks of NOT having an up-to-date soil sample?

What are the risks of NOT having an up-to-date soil sample?

For the most part, we have spent our nutrient dollars for the season and as the bills roll in, WOW, what an investment. So now, we must rely on our nutrient decisions and Mother Nature to keep the crop growing. As we look at our growing crop, we see many nuances. Some we like, and for some, we vow to make changes for another year.

Dare I say it?? It’s time to start planning for another year, and with wheat harvest in the not-too-distant future, a current soil test and a solid 4R sampling plan is a very important start to success in the years to come.

We have all heard and probably seen the advantages of having a soil test when planning and budgeting for the following crop. Without this critical guide, we leave ourselves and our crop at RISK.

Crop removal values in a typical rotation

MAP and Potash rates in lbs. actual per acre.


Over the life of this rotation, a $22 per acre soil test spread over four years costs $5.50 a year and influences $510 per acre or more of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers for your crop.

  1. Without a test, you run two risks. The first is the cost of over-application and the risk of under-fertilizing and shorting the crop. Do you have all the information you need to make these decisions? Are you making the right decisions or just going with what you did last year?
  2. Proper soil pH is essential to crop growth. In general, our soils are all variable to some degree. Without a good understanding of this variability and the ways pH is affected by it, we run the RISK of spending all of our input costs with little hope of a return in these areas. A grid or zone soil sampling program is likely warranted to uncover the field variability.
  3. A basic understanding of a soil's Cation Exchange Capacity CEC (nutrient holding capacity) and nutrient balance reveals many insights into our soil’s variability. All of which help avoid the RISK of spending your fertilizer dollars without a proper nutrient balance. More P and K will not correct a soil with low magnesium. Many input dollars can be tied up or wasted without these understandings.
  4. Micronutrients levels play a huge part in the way a crop develops and how it moves other nutrients within the plant. More often than not, we diagnose these deficiencies too late and after some damage has already occurred. With an understanding of the base values in our soil, we can avoid the RISK of not catching these problem areas and fields and be proactive in our approach to Micronutrient inputs.


All of these RISKs can be managed better with a site sampling plan and a current soil test every 4th year.

Following the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship begins with a current soil test no older than four years.

Proper interpretation allows us to create a plan to apply the right product, at the right rate, in the right place at the right time.

Start your 2023 season today by reviewing your present soil test information with your AGRIS Crop Sales Specialist or local branch. There are many types and styles of sampling. AGRIS offers all and can custom match a type or style to your individual field needs.

Avoid the uncertainty and unnecessary risks by developing a sample plan, and work with current information.

As an added bonus, AGRIS has developed the myFS Solution Centre website and iOS and Android apps which enables you to view and manage your account and a history of all your soil samples and nutrient values for FREE.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”

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