custom agronomics and lime application

Lime Applications to Correct Soil pH using Variable Rate Application​

Acidic soil needs lime in order to neutralize acidity. Doing so allows better growth for crops and other plant life. But what causes soil to become acidic in the first place?  Soil acidity The acidification of soil isn't an unusual phenomenon; it is a natural process that is expected of soil that has experienced different crop production practices. For example, the use of nitrogen fertilizers contributes to the acidity of soil. Although soil acidification is a natural process, certain properties – chemical and biological to be exact – change. One such change is the increase in the solubility of aluminum and manganese, both elements being dangerous for plants. Which are both dangerous for plants. However, plants do have a tolerance for aluminum and manganese but the levels vary. This leads to needing specific soil pH requirements to plant certain crops. If there are certain crops you want to plant, custom agronomics can help you determine the right soil pH needed for them. Adding lime to soil increases its pH and therefore reduces its acidity. Lime also adds calcium and magnesium into the soil, which then help it minimize the solubility of aluminum and magnesium.  Lime applications Soil acidification can be reversed with the help of a liming material, which include carbonates, hydroxides, oxides, and silicates of calcium or magnesium. Components of the liming materials react with the acidity of the soil, leading to its neutralization. The question now becomes: just how much lime needs to be added to the soil to neutralize acidity? First, a lime requirement test needs to be performed. The results of the test serve as a basis for the amount of lime needed. You can get the help of a custom agronomics company to determine the lime application rate for your desired crops.  Variable rate application The amount of lime needed by soil to plant a certain crop depends on its cation exchange capacity (CEC), which tells you the cations attracted to soil particles. The CEC of soil is related to a number of factors, including soil texture, content of organic matter, and the type of clay present. An increase of clay and organic matter leads to an increase in CEC. This leads to an increase in the amount of hydrogen ions that need to be neutralized. A lime requirement test provides recommendations for soils with different CEC. There will be different liming requirements for soils located in the same field that have very different texture, organic matter and soil pH. If this is the case, variable rate application (VRA) is usually recommended. In fact, of all of the VRA used, this is the one most recommended. A decision also needs to be made regarding the kind of VRA to be used. Map-based VRA uses an electronic map to adjust the application rate. On the other hand, a sensor-based VRA doesn't need a map and uses a sensor located on the applicator instead.  While it is normal to have acidic soil, it changes the biological and chemical properties of soil. This can include an increase in elements that are harmful for plants and also make other essential nutrients unavailable to the plant. Acidity, however, can be solved by adding lime and in the case of different kinds of soil, variable-rate application is recommended.    ​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!

Soil Health and Biology

How Soil Health, Soil Biology and Cover Crops All Tie-in Together​

A successful harvest hinges on many factors, one of them being soil health. Soil performs other essential functions other than sustaining plant and animal life. As such, it is important to understand its intricacies in order to ensure a harvest with better yields and profits. Getting to this point requires an understanding of soil biology, which then helps towards planting the right cover crops to keep soil healthy and sustainable for the future. Let's break it down.  Soil Health Crops need soil to be healthy to ensure a bountiful harvest. However, the importance of soil health isn't solely restricted to planting and harvesting; it must also concern sustainability for future generations. One of the most important needs of a population to survive is food. Plants are a major food source, and they need healthy soil for a successful harvest. However, it's not just plants that rely on soil; animals depend on it too which makes it all the more important to ensure its quality.  Soil Biology There are living organisms in soil, and they have an effect on agricultural productivity, as well as air and water quality. The creatures found in soil range from not-visible-to-the-naked-eye (algae, bacteria, fungi, protozoa) to slightly visible (micro-arthropods, nematodes) to very visible (earthworms, insects, small vertebrates, plants). All of the organisms mentioned go through a process of eating, growing, and moving through the soil. They interact with each other by producing and consuming – all of which help soil become much healthier and ready for crops.  Cover Crops The word “cover” before crops give you a good idea of what this plant life does. Essentially, it acts as a “cover” for the soil when you don't have anything to plant. Like any organism in the soil, it goes through a process that improves soil for its next use. Planting cover crops reduces erosion, improves soil quality, increases the amount of organic matter in soil, recycles nutrients, controls weeds, and suppresses pests. All of these ultimately lead to an increase in crop yields over a long period.  To be effective, a cropping system must be in place. This includes nutrient management, pest management, and crop rotation, among others. Some of the commonly used cover crops include black oat, cereal rye, crimson clover, cowpea, oilseed radish, pea, sorghum, and sunn hemp.  Tying it All Together Getting a substantial yield during harvest time helps earn a profit. However, that won't be possible if you don't consider soil health; unhealthy soil won't lead to desired results. In order to provide for soil's needs, it's important to have a good grasp of soil biology, which provides an understanding of all the living creatures found in soil. Cover crops are one kind of plant life that can be grown on soil that isn't used for harvest. Doing so ensures the soil remains healthy for the next planting season all the way to harvest time.  A successful harvest is an achievable goal but getting there means understanding the soil and the creatures living within it.   ​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!

variable rate application for corn and soybeans

Using Variable Rate Application for Applying Fertilizer for Corn and Soybeans​

The use of precision agriculture technologies has greatly improved the management of soil fertility. One of these is the variable rate technology (VRT) for variable rate application (VRA). What is variable rate application?In precision agriculture, VRA is focused on the automated application of chemicals, fertilizers, seeds, and other materials to a given field or landscape. The amount of materials applied is based on data collected using GPS, maps, and sensors. How to apply fertilizer for corn and soybeans using variable rate applicationFertilizer application can be completely automated with the right variable rate application technology. Many recommend using variable rate fertilization based on dense grid sampling, where a field is subdivided into a systematic arrangement of usually 2.5 to 4.4 acres of small areas or cells. There are several steps involved in applying fertilizer using VRA. All of which involve using multiple layers of collected data to apply an algorithm that will give the desired fertilizers rates for each area in a field. Set management zonesAllow the collected data such as, soil test, yield history, soil type in each field to determine the management zones for fertilizer application. If an area is always higher yielding then create a zone and allow more fertilizer to replace the yields. This also works in areas that are lower yielding by allowing to lower the amount of fertilizer used. Variable rate application allows you to dictate precisely which machine should apply specific material to which zones and at what rate. This is a great tool in the arsenal to achieve most profitable application rates of fertilizer. It is also a must to prevent over fertilization and potential contamination to vital waterways. Decide between sensors and maps for variable rate application The choice will depend on the type of variable rate application technology used. If a map of a landscape is generated and input into the system before any activities are carried out, map-based VRA is the ideal solution. When sensors are integrated into VRA technology, sensor-based VRA is the obvious choice. What is great about this technology is that it automatically detects the health of a crop and makes a decision based on that data. For example, if it senses that the corn is in need of nitrogen, it will apply the material required. Set data that needs to be collectedIf you choose sensor-based VRA, you need to specify what type of data the sensors should collect. If you choose map-based VRA, you need to specify what sort of data or imagery will be used in the mapping. Some of the important data that should be collected for fertilizer application are the type of crop, soil test,  yield history, applied crop protection, climate information, and the fertilizers applied. What are the benefits of variable rate application? -Save on chemicals and fertilizers because the amount is pre-determined prior to application and controlled over a specific area.-Increase potential yield due to more efficient fertilization and spraying. The amount of fertilizer applied is based on the actual needs of crops.-Protects the environment from excess spraying of chemicals or fertilization.-Promotes sustainable efficient farming practices. Choose Variable Rate ApplicationDone right, VRA will ensure a healthy realized yield and bountiful harvest. It also cuts down the amount of effort you need to invest in fertilizing crops and testing the soil and saves costs at the same time. So next growing season, consider using variable rate application with Precision Agronomics.   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! ​

soil test

The Soil Test and Its Role in Proper Soil Fertility ​

Soil that is fertile has a mixture of well-balanced minerals, humus, high organic matter, fulvic and carbonic acids, abundant microbial life, and good aeration. Soil fertility at this level will produce plants at its healthiest, especially with sufficient oxygen and water. If the goal is a bountiful harvest, fertile soil is a must. For every growing season, however, the quantity and availability of mineral nutrients change. This is mainly due to the fertilizers, manure, and lime previously added. There are also the factors of leaching and denitrification. Therefore, it is important to conduct a soil test before each growing season. Without it, you are practically guessing nutrient applications. What is a complete soil test?This is done to identify what nutrients are available in the beginning and in the middle of the growing season, and what is left at the end of a season. If the test result shows that organic matter is 2% or less, the soil is considered poor since the ideal number is 4% to 10%. Under these circumstances, you need to increase the organic matter levels to achieve better soil structure, texture, aeration, water holding capacity, and drainage. How much manure, composts, cover crops, and other organic mulches you need to apply is also determined through a soil test. A soil sample from 6 to 7-inches deep is usually taken. This is the primary zone that will be tested for most crops. The fall and early spring are the best times to test soil. Not so much during winter and right after fertilizer or lime applications. The sample is tested for alkalinity, cation saturation, cation exchange capacity, macro nutrients, micro nutrients, organic matter, and soil pH. What is the role of soil testing in proper soil fertility? -Help identify nutritional problems before they can escalate to expensive losses. -Help identify what needs to be replaced or amended to ensure balanced soil fertility. The soil may have deleterious soil pH or excessive nutrient levels. -Identify which fertilizer and nutrients you need to achieve maximum yield goals. -Identify how much nutrients need to be applied for optimum harvest. -Ensure that fertilizer and nutrient applications do not compromise the fertility of the soil. -Provides the necessary information to maintain optimum fertility every growing season. -Allow farmers and growers to correct a problem before planting. -Help achieve balance in applying nutrients and avoiding over-application. Given these advantages, no farmer or grower should skip soil testing every growing season. The cost of a soil test is significantly lower than the cost of seed and plants, the labor involved, and the loss if production suffers. Hire Professional Soil TestingTo get the best test results, a good sample must be taken. A composite sample must be submitted, which involves taking 5 random samples at plow depth following a standard pattern. These should be marked with GPS location for repeatable locations year after year.   It is recommended that for every 2.5 to 3.3 acres that a sample is taken. A sample would be a collection of five soil cores. It is also important not to combine cores from areas that are not uniform to the desired sample. With all the factors you must consider in taking a soil sample, it is best to hire professionals, like Precision Agronomics, to perform a complete soil test and to read the results and in turn repeat this process every 4 years.   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!​


Choosing an Agronomist Who Is Independent of Product Sales​

Agronomy helps farmers stop playing the guessing game when it comes to their crops. In farming, it always helps to get a bigger yield and agronomists can help achieve that. Technology has come to play a huge part in farming, and growers who want to understand how it leads to better farm decisions can avail the services of an agronomist. In hiring someone for their services, it's important that they work independently. Meaning, the agronomist isn't deriving commission from product sales, which will allow them to provide unbiased advice.  An Agronomist's Job Farming methods have changed dramatically in the past few years. Technology now plays a much bigger role, and this is an area where agronomists can be of great help. While farmers have adopted the use of technology, not everyone has been able to keep up. An agronomist can come in to provide the information needed to make decisions, be it about crop rotation or fertilizer application.  Agronomists can work for custom agronomic companies that are intent on providing not just highly technical advice, but an independent one as well. Some agronomists have a vested interest in promoting a particular product because they earn a commission off of its sale. However, this isn't the case when you hire an independent agronomist for farming advice.  An independent agronomist doesn't have any commercial bias. They do not earn commission from the sale of a product. They are there to provide comprehensive information that will help you achieve a higher crop yield. Their job includes offering advice on, but not limited to, cultivation, crop nutrition, crop protection, environmental issues, and strategic planning. They are there to provide transparent device and be unbiased in their recommendations.  Towards Bigger Yields Agronomists from custom agronomic companies work together with farmers. They use their experience to offer the best possible solution to produce the result every grower wants: a larger realized crop yield. They provide the advice for a range of farming needs, and even scout the fields to find presence of disease, insects, weeds, or nutrition issues.  An agronomist provides farmers with the advice they need. If a farmer wants to know if it’s time to plant a certain kind of crop, an agronomist is there to provide an answer to that question. They also inform growers of the best rotation based on the data they got from scouting and testing the field.  A lot of farms have to deal with insects, and it is part of an agronomist's job to monitor for insects and disease. Just like a doctor, an agronomist prescribes the kind of insecticide needed to “cure” the field of its disease. They also inform farmers on the right amount to use.  Agronomists also perform soil tests to determine the nutrients needed for the coming planting season.  Making recommendations that are right for your farm is what an agronomist does. And they don't come up with that information off the bat. Custom agronomic companies, like Precision Agronomics, look at your fields and do actual work. They also use technology and analyze the data it provides to provide you with the information you need to achieve better realized crop yields.  ​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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24552 Oak Ridge Ct.
Danville, IL 61834


9438 West SR 28
West Lebanon, IN 47991
PHONE: (800) SOIL - 130

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