“This is a recording: Start with current soil samples,” said Tim Stelter, Federated’s Osceola location manager, with a chuckle, as he started to talk about fall liming. “Whether it’s grid sampling or one sample for 40 acres, it’s more information than we have without a sample,” he added.
Good crop management decisions are based on good information, and that’s where the soil samples come into play. Applying lime on fields in the fall, said Stelter, “will make everything work better”:
- Crops use fertilizer better.
- Soil applied herbicides prevent weeds better.
- Overall soil health is better.
- Yields are better.
“We love applying ag lime in the fall on not-yet-tilled soil,” said Stelter who, like other Federated agronomists, encourages growers to apply lime in the fall, not in the spring when schedules are compressed and the pressure to plant is on.
Ag lime should be applied immediately after the crop is off, before tillage, before the weather turns cold. “It only takes a week to get the soil sample results back and we can be out to spread lime and/or fertilizer quickly; there’s still time for tillage (unless you’re in a no-till situation),” said Stelter.
Yield is the key, Stelter noted. “Even at the low [commodity] prices you still get paid on bushels and the more bushels you get the more you get paid.”
“If you wait until spring, there won’t be time to do it,” he said. He added that variable rate liming is another valuable option – the cost of grid sampling is offset by lime being put only where it’s needed.
Contact your Federated Agronomist before you get in the combine to get soil samples done and fall ag liming scheduled.