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Questions about soil test

Posted By: Shotgun Willie

Questions about soil test - 08/22/14 02:14 AM

So I've been reading every food plot thread that's come up in the last 8 and a half months, and decided to get a soil test done. It's a small plot, 2 acres, but I'm just trying to do the best I can with what I've got to work with. I asked them about peas, wheat, oats, and clover, here's what it says:

pH - 5.9

Nitrates are good, says I want 5lb/ac for wheat.
Phosphorus is low, says I want 40-75lb/ac depending on the crop. (40-75lbs of 0-18-0?)
Sulfur is very slightly low, says 5lb/ac across the board. (Should I bother?)

Lime, there's two lines, which confuses me:

"Limestone Requirement" 1 ton/ac
"Limestone Requirement" (Chemical test) 0.0 tons

So do I need lime, or no? If all I have to work with is a 3pt 500lb spreader, is pelletized lime my only option? Should I till it in? Should I do the phosphorus at the same time?

Last, it says to topdress with 50-60lb/ac of nitrogen after emergence, I've got some 39-0-0 for that.

I thank you in advance for any time you can spare.
Posted By: Hirogen

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/22/14 02:39 AM

I would definitely lime. My goal would be to get the pH to around 6.8.

The pellets take a longer time to raise the pH but are safer in the spreader. I put some really finely ground lime through my spreader once and it did a number on the gear box.

Pretty sure you can apply the fertilizer at the same time but I have never done this as I try to lime at least 2-4 months ahead of time so that the lime has some time to act.
Posted By: Western

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/22/14 04:05 AM

Sounds like they want you to apply 1 ton of lime per acre to get you to neutral or 7. Pellets take along time to change the PH, powder is quicker, but a mess as Hirogen said. You may be SOL to hope to get the ph change until late in the year, so the impact may not be seen at all this fall.

Best thing to do, is take your sample form to the nearest feed store that sells bulk fertilizer, or better a farm fertilizer supply store, they will tell you exactly what you need.

My soil samples usually come with recommended "units" (not the garden test), for instance take your Phosphorus. If they said you need 60 "units" per acre and you only had the 0-18-0 in a 50# bag, you would need 3 bags of that per acre, or 18x3=54 units per acre. (just shy of the recommended 60)

Even the recommended nitrogen at 5.lbs a acre sounds wrong ?

Almost looks and sounds like the garden test from TAMU rather than a field test, as far as the recommended values are concerned. My Garden test came back with lbs as the recommended rates as well.
Posted By: Shotgun Willie

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/22/14 04:38 AM

Now units would make sense.

I did the soil submittal form, S14, maybe that was the wrong one.

I guess I'll just do what I can do this fall, and start working the lime in come spring.
Posted By: Western

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/22/14 05:15 AM

That looks like the right form.

I would add the lime anyway, you will get much more out of your fertilizer, especially phosphorus. I would do that ASAP, unless you plan on waiting for next fall, then do it in the Spring, (Plowed in and disc good to mix)

The peas and clover would add a small amount of nitrogen when they mature btw.

Depending on your budget, you could just go 2-300 pounds of 13-13-13 and just plant a mix of "whole feed oats" and wheat, say 60/40 That would be the cheapest way to go. Some of that potash and phosphorus will likely still be there next spring.

It's free to go talk with the folks at the fertilizer yard and they will give you good advise. Also your county AG agent, they will meet you at your place for free and can give invaluable advice for your exact area. They can also give you some ideas on what native forage you have and what you can do to nurture that for wildlife. They aren't quite like a game biologist, but free and some are pretty darn sharp.
Posted By: Western

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/22/14 05:17 AM

BTW, your going about it the right way, in the long run you will produce far better forage for your deer and critters.

Your ag agent can also look at your sample report and tell "the details"
Posted By: Shotgun Willie

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/23/14 03:08 AM

Thanks very much guys. I have 400lbs of 13-13-13 on the way, and 2 tons of pelletized lime ready to be picked up.

I talked to a guy who has a degree in growing stuff, said to go ahead and put down the lime because, essentially, it won't hurt to go ahead and do it now. He said the same thing about the triple 13 when I seed it, nitrogen after emergence, and then test the soil earlier next summer for the fall plot.

I don't do a spring plot here, so I'll just brush hog and till the wheat and oats in Feb/Mar and let them start breaking down.
Posted By: Shotgun Willie

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/29/14 10:40 PM

Two tons of pelletized lime at bagged prices scared me off, so I found a place willing to sell me powdered lime and let me use their buggy to spread it.

Does $200 a ton seem high? I've seen posts on here where guys were talking about $50-$75 a ton. Granted, this place is only 20 minutes from my lease, so I'll be saving quite a bit not towing 5000lbs with a 6.0 Chevy a couple hundred miles.

So, making sure I've got this right, lime, till, wait until there's some rain in the forecast... run out there, till/seed/fertilizer and pray for rain, knowing the lime probably won't have a huge effect on production this season.

My plan for spring is to shred and till the oats/wheat late Feb-March, and then till again in June or so and get another soil sample to prepare for fall plots next year.

Sound right? Or am I making this harder than it has to be?
Posted By: Western

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/29/14 11:22 PM

I haven't a clue on those prices, but may post a town and someone may have some options. it will vary by area though.

Posted By: colt45

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/29/14 11:46 PM

poor soil to good soil is not something achieved overnight, sometimes quicker if weather conditions are right
Posted By: red bluff

Re: Questions about soil test - 08/29/14 11:46 PM

$200 per ton for ag lime is very high, but most of the time it is delivered to the field by the semi load and then spread. your situation is different. Ag lime is usually not 100 percent pure so the product you buy may need to be increased by the percentage of calcium listed on the test of the Ag lime. I would not worry about all that for a 2 acre food plot. But I would apply lime asap and till into the soil if possible. Do not apply fertilizer in combination with the lime. The calcium will lock on the the phosphates and the phosphates will not be available for your seedlings.
Unless you are no-till drilling the seed in I would start tillage asap. I planted my oats 2 days ago. Timing a rain is tricky business. dirt clods are bad and big clods are real bad when it melts on top of the seed it may be covered to deep. Watch the farmers in your area and see when they plow and plant. I would not shred or till the oats/wheat till may or june the deer will use them until the native range greens up. Provided you do not plant a spring plot on the same acres. On very good years(lots of timely rain) I have seen plots go to seed and shred and till in August / September (in my area) and use those seed for planting. Each year is different each objective can be different.
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