Now is a great time of year to start tissue sampling in corn and soybean fields. Tissue sampling offers an excellent opportunity to see how well spring fertility plans worked.
We have some window left in the season to tweak some nutritional deficiencies. Foliar products, such as VersaMax AC (from Rosen’s) is one such option to address nutrition needs this late in the year.
Tissue sampling can help catch the deficiency before the plants show any outward signs. Once nutrient deficiency shows up in the plants, yields have already been hit, and then it is too late.
However, even if it’s too late to address nutrient deficiencies in this year’s crop, tissue sampling now will help determine what’s needed for next season. It’s an opportunity to determine specific nutrient needs based on good data from the tissue samples.
Federated uses Midwest Laboratories for sample analysis and their turnaround time is five to seven days to get back reports (as in photo above). We test for levels of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, and micronutrients that have been taken up by the plants.
The process of sampling depends on the stage of growth. Here's how to take tissue samples:
- On corn prior to tassel, take the newest leaves; once tasseling starts, take samples from the leaves below and opposite the ear.
- Soybeans are sampled at the newest trifoliate.
- Alfalfa samples should be pulled from the newest leaf blades and petioles one- third of the way down the plant.
Federated Agronomists are available for questions on tissue sampling, or they can come to your fields and take the samples for you.