The Ohio State Soil Fertility Lab will be starting a number of projects this year that will only be successful with participation from farmer cooperators across the state. We are asking for your help with the projects outlined below.
1) Revising Fertilizer Recommendations in Corn, Soybean, and Wheat
We are in the process of updating the Tri-State Recommendations, looking specifically at N, P and K in corn, soybean and wheat. This is a major undertaking that will require a collective effort from numerous OSU extension personnel, crop consultants and farmer cooperators. We will cast a broad net to collect data from a large number of farms across the state and determine economically-optimum fertilization rates to maximize farmer profitability.
Experiments will involve either applying additional fertilizer or no fertilizer to replicated strip plots. Farmers can choose which nutrient they’d like to work with and will have a large degree of flexibility in the plot layout and applied rates. We are ideally looking for farms that capture a diversity of soil types, and are especially interested in fields that test low in P and K. For a limited number of sites, the soil fertility lab can come in after planting and impose treatments and handle all the data collection. Farmers will be paid for their time and effort.
Data to be collected:
Soil sample before planting
Leaf nutrient analysis at early reproductive stage
Grain yields at harvest and nutrient analysis of grain
Short questionnaire about soil management
2) Soil Active Organic Matter Testing
Active organic matter is only a small fraction (5-20%) of the soil’s total organic matter, but is very important to crop nutrition since nutrients in this fraction are rapidly cycled and taken up by crops. This project’s goal is to better understand active organic matter and to develop a robust farmer-test to compliment traditional soil testing. We are looking for farms of all types of crops and sizes- both conventional and certified organic. Farmers will mail in soil from their fields with a short questionnaire. A full standard soil test (total OM, pH, CEC, extractable base cations and micronutrients) will be run, as well as three new soil tests of active organic matter with no charge to the farmer. Individual soil results will only be shared with the farmer, while summarized results from across the state will be shared with all cooperators. Farmer participation in this project requires a relatively small commitment.
3) Soil Amendment and Foliar Application Evaluations
Finally, it is worth mentioning a new service starting in 2015: independent evaluations of proprietary soil amendments and foliar applications aimed at improving the mineral nutrition and productivity of crops. The goal of this service is to provide farmers with timely and valuable information on products that enhance soil biological and/or chemical function. Similar to variety trials conducted at OSU, yearly reports will be generated and posted online to help guide farmers’ decisions about product use on their farms.
Interested cooperators please contact Steve Culman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (330) 263-3787.