A new soil test is revealing that many farmers may need less fertilizer than they thought to keep their crops healthy.
According to a recent article in Capital Press. Richard Haney, a soil scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple Texas, has designed a test to measure the amount of organic nitrogen and phosphate in soil. According to Haney, other tests measure inorganic nitrogen, but miss the organic variety. However, since good soil biology makes the organic nitrogen available for plants, organic nitrogen should be taken into account when estimating fertilizer needs. Haney’s test does just that.
In recent years, many farmers and ranchers have been won over by Haney’s methods and his methods are being touted by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Haney has now tested more than 22,000 US soil samples and says he’s never heard from any farmer who cut back on fertilizer based on his test results and experienced a nutrient deficiency. On the other hand, some farmers are understandably upset. “I can’t tell you the number of farmers I get who are mad,” Haney said. “they’ve been over-fertilizing for their whole careers, and they feel like they’ve been duped.”
Make sure your soil test takes into account both organic & inorganic forms of nitrogen, and read the full article here.