“Tissue sampling is a snapshot in time on how your crops are performing,” said Mike Slater, Federated ag sales rep at the Isanti location. “They can tell you how well your crop is doing, or what the plant is deficient in, and give you a better idea on what you need to adjust,” he added.
All crops grown in the Federated area can be tested, especially corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.
Pulling tissue samples is a relatively simple process. Slater described it as follows:
For corn: “When pulling tissue samples remember to pull the upper most collared leaf on corn up until tassel, then it is the ear leaf that needs to be pulled. Most corn samples should be pulled at or just before the V5 stage to give you the best idea for side dressing.”
For soybeans: “The newest trifoliate is pulled.”
For alfalfa: “Cut the top 6” of growth prior to bloom.”
For all crops: “A softball size sample needs to be pulled.” Smaller (less than a 3-4” cluster) samples do not provide enough tissue for effective lab analysis.
As for timing, said Slater, “samples should be pulled early in the week so that they make it to the lab before the end of the week and don’t dry out [over the weekend] and skew the results.”
Slater emphasized that a tissue sample is a snapshot in time, and deficiencies may affect yield before analysis and corrections can be made. Tissue sampling can help correct issues in the current crop, but it “is best used as a way to determine what the deficiency is or how well your crops are doing,” said Johnson.
Contact your Federated Agronomist with questions about tissue sampling.