factors that influence soil fertility

What are the Factors that Influence Soil Fertility? ​

In growing plants and crops in a loose layer of land, soil fertility is important. The expectation of growing plants and crops as food for both humans and livestock depends heavily on the soil's health and its proper fertilization.  However, soil fertility is a concept that not everyone is familiar with. For the average person, it is simply treated as part of the ground and grows plants, trees, and crops. Little is known that there are certain factors that actually influence and affect the actual success of their production. The soil's overall health depends on these factors a lot. It could either make a good crop or plant production or not at all. In this piece, we discuss soil fertility as well as its productivity. Not only that, we dive deeper into the influential and affecting factors of the fertility of the soil.   Soil Fertility and Productivity By definition, soil fertility shows the ability of the soil to provide the right amount and balance of nutrients that the growth of crops and plants are going to depend on. To optimize crop production, it is important to maintain fertile soil with the right combination of plant nutrients as well as an optimum soil pH. Soil productivity is heavily dependent on the fertility of the soil. It shows the soil's ability to support plant and crop growth in its optimal environment. As it is dependent on the soil's fertility, high soil productivity would need the soil to be properly fertilized. Keep in mind, however, that soil productivity can also be affected or influenced by other factors than the fertility of the soil. Even if the soil is fertile, the level of productivity can be disrupted by the presence of weeds and even certain farming methods.  Factors Influencing the Fertility of the Soil Soil pH - After testing the soil, you determine the existing pH level of the soil. Along with that, you would discover the nutrients that are available that can be used for planting crops. Organic matter - You can also increase the fertility of the soil by determining the presence of certain organic materials that contain nutrients in them. These can be reused for the next growing cycle. Moisture content - The amount of moisture that resides in the soil can also influence soil fertility. Actual nutrients can be found in the soil solution and not the solid matrix. Therefore, it's more desirable to use soil with higher moisture content to increase and ensure its fertility. Clay content - Through the soil's clay content, the cation exchange capacity (CEC) is determined. There are more nutrients present in soil with a higher CEC than its opposite. Low CEC indicates the possibility of easily losing nutrients by leaching. Bulk density - Soil fertility also depends on its bulk density. As a rule of thumb, the soil to be used should not be compacted. Or else, it can easily obstruct root penetration. If this happens, it's going to be difficult for the roots to reach the nutrients it needs.  Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!

testing for soil conductivity map

Agriculture: Understanding the Importance of Soil Testing ​

The health of plants and crops rely heavily on the health of the soil where you plant it. Which is why it's crucial to conduct proper soil testing and to determine a soil conductivity map in the ground you're planning to plant in. Through testing the ground or soil, you will be able to see the available number of minerals and nutrients that reside in it.  However, soil testing isn't a simple process. Specific procedures and elements should be followed and observed for it to be considered good and thorough testing. As you go through the processes of proper soil testing, you'll get to determine its importance when it comes to planting crops and even maintaining lawns.  Why is it Important? Before you begin growing plants and crops, the first step is to always conduct proper soil testing. It goes deeper than simply determining the number of nutrients and minerals that are found in the ground you're planning to use. Optimizing crop production is perhaps the biggest reason why soil testing is crucial. Without testing the ground, you will potentially put your crops at risk of being grown in an unusable soil and therefore risking the production as a whole. Soil testing is also important to prevent soil contamination due to runoff as well as draining out excess fertilizers. If these things do happen, it will surely be a great risk factor that can potentially disrupt the entire crop production. It can also be helpful in preventing and improving the odds of the crops through addressing possible issues of nutritional balance, save money and energy through putting in the right amount of fertilizers needed, as well as help in the analysis of certain plant culture problems.  Understanding Soil pH LevelsThe presence of minerals and nutrients found in the ground is determined through the soil's pH levels. When conducting proper soil testing, the soil's pH is measured. It shows the ground's acidity or alkalinity read on a scale ranging from 0 to 14. A low scale shows harsh acidity while a high scale indicates extreme alkalinity. When testing the soil, it should be in a neutral or balanced level which ranges somewhere in between--6.0 to 7.5. Seeing an imbalanced soil pH will indicate a risk that can directly affect the number of nutrients available in the soil. Therefore, measures can be done in order to adjust the levels. While it may take years to adjust the soil's pH imbalance, acidic soil requires the application of limestone derived products while alkaline soils would need sulfur products.  Fertilizers and other PracticesFertilizers also play an important role in successful and optimized crop production. When the soil pH indicates balanced levels, crops can be planted with the right amount of fertilizers that the soil can take. A soil conductivity map can aid in adding the proper amount of solution needed to plant roots. Finally, certain fertilizer practices, as well as growing media, will need to undergo testing at least once a month.    Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!

custom agronomics and sustainability

 Custom Agronomics and Sustainability for the Future​ 

Every farmer wants a successful harvest. After all, this is more than just a livelihood; this is also about ensuring there is enough food for society. But the modern world is making everyday living difficult. There are too many of us and far too little resources.   We are quickly gobbling up every consumable yet there is a large portion of the population that barely has enough to eat. Is there a way to change the process but not contribute to the further degradation of the planet?    The Need for Sustainability PracticesSustainability has been preached for years, but only a few are deeply committed to the concept. It can be a difficult one to grasp in a capitalist society but change is always possible if more businesses start buying into the idea that it’s possible to make a profit even while respecting the limitations of their surroundings. It’s not only businesses who need to adopt sustainable practices; consumers have a part to play as well. Everyone should work together to create a better future not just for the planet but also for the generations to come. Sustainability is about being able to maintain balance in a world that is ever changing.  Applying Sustainability Practices through Custom AgronomicsThe concept of sustainability finds an application in farming. Humans were agriculturalists for a very long time before others discovered other ways of going about life. Even with the rapid advancement of society, we are still in many ways dependent on agriculture for survival. So, the question now is: how can farmers produce enough food without abusing their land? A solution can be found in implementing custom agronomics. The combination of both tradition and technology can guarantee optimal yields and the continuous production of the land. Custom agronomics is about really getting to know one’s farm. It’s only by doing so that one can ensure its survival. Knowing what crops to plant and when can ensure a productive harvest. Equally important is understanding that the kinds of crops planted can affect soil health. So if corn is planted for one season, it might be best to plant an alternative crop the following season. Successive plantings of the same crop won’t likely yield the desired results.  Practicing SustainabilitySustainable agriculture is about promoting practices that not only help farmers earn a profit, but also one that doesn’t do further harm to the environment. We live in a world that demands profit, sometimes to the detriment of our surroundings. This clearly needs to change, and it can start with an understanding of farming land through the help of traditional practices and technology. It’s important for farmers to understand that soil health, seed quality, and other factors are just as important as making a profit. In fact, they are linked; one cannot expect a successful harvest through the implementation of unsustainable farming practices.  Farming land needs to be understood and respected to ensure that it continues to yield crops that society needs. Not only that, practicing sustainable agriculture is one way of guaranteeing a successful harvest.    Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!​

potential crop yield - grain

Quick Tips on Improving Potential Crop Yield for Your Corn Crops​

Potential crop yield is important because it serves as an indicator of a farm’s profitability. As such, it’s important to find ways to continuously improve crop yields to ensure successful farming for years to come.     Here are some ideas: Start Planting when your Soil is ReadyScience and technology have been of great help to farming. There are now soil tests that can be performed to determine whether your soil is ready for planting or not. Even if you plan on planting hybrid seeds for the benefits they bring, but all your effort will be for nothing if you don’t have the soil analyzed. You need to know whether the ground you’re setting your seeds on contains all the necessary ingredients for survival. So if test results indicate favorable soil conditions earlier than the expected planting period, take advantage of it. There’s a good chance of an increased yield if you plant early.  Plant an Alternative Crop after One Corn SeasonPlanting the same crop over and over again impacts the overall yield. You won’t be able to achieve an optimal yield if you keep planting corn successively. While this may work if your soil is in good condition or you have a limited area, access to neither means it’s best to plant alternative crops to give your soil enough time to rest. Soil that hasn’t had heavy demands expected of it tends to yield more and ensure yearly production.  Determine Yield Potential to Manage ExpectationsFarming isn’t just about planting a seed in hopes that it flourishes and makes a profit. It’s also about understanding potential crop yield in order to determine a successful harvest. You can also measure up the potential with the actual production. Knowing this is important so you have an idea of how to improve matters for the next harvest.   Walk Around your FieldScience and technology may make things easier, but it still helps to go out into the field and inspect conditions yourself. Doing so also allows you to check the condition of the soil and find out if there are any weeds growing. Most of all, a physical visit to the field lets you know if your corn crops are healthy.   Manage Water EffectivelyRunning a sustainable farm isn’t all about determining the potential crop yield then making improvements. It’s also about properly managing the essential needs of your crops. Water is the perfect example since corn crops can’t have too much or too little – it just needs the right amount. Installing a drainage system can prevent issues that prevent growth and affect production.  Use Quality SeedsHaving good soil for planting is just one part of a successful planting season. The quality of your seeds matters as well. So make sure you choose strong seeds that increase the chances of success and are also good financial investments. It always helps when farmers achieve a successful yield to ensure a healthy bottom line. Precision Agronomics can help improve crop yields through a combination of technology and agronomy services.   Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!​

yield history - agronomist

 Aggregating Yield Data and Other Production Factors for Better Decisions​ 

There are many factors that can affect crop yields for a particular harvest season. This is why relying on a single part of the data collected will not lead to better decision making. The best approach is to aggregate data and other production factors before deciding on the next step. Yield monitors, for example, can vary depending on the changes in grain yield. But without looking at the yield history, the solutions developed will be ineffective. For example, yield patterns are influenced by row direction, water management, and tillage. All of these factors should be considered when making a decision. But the data gathered should not be limited to one season alone.  A good piece of yield history data looks something like this: -Use of one center-pivot irrigation system from 1997 to 2000-Furrow irrigation was installed at the southern end during the same period-A ridge till system with 0.91 m spacing per row was employed for field management until 2000-A half-pivot was installed in 2001 and 0.76 m row spacing was employed between 2001 and 2002 Based on the data listed, the next round of decisions can be made.  Questions that Drive Decisions   Farmers are aware that they have huge amounts of data at their disposal. But without the right technology, they will not be able to make timely decisions. However, they can start by asking questions that call for better decision-making. During planting season, for example, some of the questions that need answering are related to: -Pest control in the field-Areas in the field that need irrigating -Harvest time and schedule-Weather conditions during the season During the planning phase, a farmer will have to think about: -Crops that will be cultivated during the season-Seeds to choose that offer the best yield-Soil conditions in the field From here, a farmer needs to determine what factors are within and outside of their control. Pest and weather, for example, are two things they can’t control. But they can do something about crop protection and seed genetics. No one knows data aggregation better than Gary Wagner of Crookston, Minnesota. He’s a farm-data veteran that uses 4 key data layers to drive profit and make better decisions. He has lectured internationally about the better use of aggregated data in meaningful ways. His 4,600-acre farm is planted with corn and rotated with sugar beets, sunflowers, spring wheat, and soybeans. He uses zones, remote sensing imagery, and yield maps to gather data. Through aggregated data, he discovered that some hillsides yielded 24 bushels per acre while other soybean fields average 44 bushels, 55 bushels, or better per acre. He then targeted fertilizer based on the aggregated data. The result is an average fertilizer cost at a field average increase of 6 bushels.  Importance of data tools in agronomy -Data measurements help farmers manage their operations better and make decisions that are tailor-fitted to the needs of their farm, productivity, and profitability.-Identify efficiencies and deficiencies for lower input cost and higher profits and production.-Eliminate risk and volatility while strengthening relationships and opportunities in the supply chain.   Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!​

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