Moultrie Products
How often do you do a soil test?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Starfire 11-Jun-20
Pat Lefemine 11-Jun-20
RIT 11-Jun-20
Stressless 23-Jun-20
Zbone 23-Jun-20
t-roy 23-Jun-20
Zbone 24-Jun-20
Stressless 24-Jun-20
Catscratch 24-Jun-20
Fuzzy 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
Fuzzy 25-Jun-20
Kydeer1 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
Pat Lefemine 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
RIT 25-Jun-20
Catscratch 25-Jun-20
Fuzzy 26-Jun-20
Fuzzy 26-Jun-20
Fuzzy 26-Jun-20
JSW 14-Jul-20
happygolucky 14-Jul-20
RIT 15-Jul-20
Fuzzy 20-Jul-20
From: Starfire
11-Jun-20
I'm on a three year rotation. The farmer that leases some of my land tests every three years but I am wondering If I am not harvesting any material off the acreage does it change much.

From: Pat Lefemine
11-Jun-20
I test every year. PH may not change much in a year but nutrients vary greatly, especially after planting certain crops like corn which can suck a lot out of your soils.

From: RIT
11-Jun-20
I did initial test when I first started each plot. I haven’t looked back since. I rarely fertilize either. I don’t harvest anything I plant and use plantings to set up the next crop. Like planting brassicas into spent clover. I already know there will be a bunch of N credits. If I have perennial clover I try to add grains to soak up some N. Using buckwheat and things like radish to scavenge nutrients for future use. I have limestone outcroppings all over my place though so I am more likely to have high PH versus low. In the few soil test I did take ph ranged from 6.8 -7.2. I have not added lime in 8 years. I have started to add gypsum to clover to try to help with the clay and I use AMS when I am forced to spray so there is some N there.

I’d like to understand micro-nutrients better but I am just not there yet. I leave a lot of vegetation to decompose in the plots so there is nutrient recycling going on. I wish I had saved the original soil test it would be nice to go back and see how OM and other things have changed over the years.

From: Stressless
23-Jun-20

Stressless's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
Stressless's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

You should do the pH yearly until you meet your desired levels, Split-Apply Ag Lime or Pelletized Lime with no more then 5000#/Acre at a time / year.

Fertilizer, depends on your plot crops and rotation as stated above. I do soil samples on my plots yearly prior to when I apply fertilizer and use a spreadsheet I made to calc the most efficient in $ per application.

Note: You don't get enough detailed info from the WTI soil test to define the application rates per agronomists - take or mail you smaple to your local Ag Co-Op or county to get the full spectrum results.

From: Zbone
23-Jun-20
Curious, the higher the PH number the richer the soil, or is it the other way around?

From: t-roy
23-Jun-20
Actually, neither, zbone. The number indicates how acidic or alkaline the soil is. On average, ideal soil conditions are between 6.0-7.0. The lower the number, the more acidic the soil is, the higher the number, the more alkaline. 7.0 is basically neutral.

From: Zbone
24-Jun-20
Ahhh.... Thanks t-roy...

From: Stressless
24-Jun-20
T-Roy is spot on, also a little acidic (<7) is much better for almost all plot crops than at alkaline (>7)

From: Catscratch
24-Jun-20
I'm very much in line with what RIT does! Complimentary plantings do well for me.

From: Fuzzy
25-Jun-20
there's no such thing as too much information. VPI&SU does samples for $10 a pop, you'll waste twenty times that on fertilizer, lime and seed if your "estimate" or last year's result is off just a few percentage points

From: RIT
25-Jun-20
If you actually use fertilizer.

From: Fuzzy
25-Jun-20
RIT good point. If you're not going to amend the soil to the crop and/or match the crop to the soil conditions then a soil test is futile. Just seed it and cross your fingers.

From: Kydeer1
25-Jun-20
If you all plant a summer and fall crop do you just do lime and fertilizer one time or adjust/add additional for fall crops?

From: RIT
25-Jun-20
Guess I am doing it wrong. I never seed and cross my fingers. I plant according to what I want to plant for that season. I haven’t harvested a thing off my plots in the last 4-5 years. I have returned top growth back to the soil ten-fold. If proper amendments were made in the beginning I don’t need to pray. I know the nutrients are in the soil. When all these plants mature and die all the nutrients they up took will be released back into the soil.

Deer never eat my radishes. They spend the fall scavenging nutrients then they winter kill, rot in place and release them all. Same goes for buckwheat, winter rye, and just about anything else that is planted. It’s worlds different than farming. About every 3rd year I may add some P&K to my clover strips but as far as the rest it’s been a long long time. It’s could be that Ohio deer are just stupid because they eat my plots anyway. I hope they never find out that I didn’t fertilize or pray.

From: RIT
25-Jun-20
And just to add to that. I’m not saying don’t ever do a soil test. I did one in the beginning. But once you have an understanding of your soil and you add the required amendments there is no valid reason to do one every year. Unless you just pay no attention to what you plant and what that particular planting does. If my PH was 4.3 I might do a soil test for a few years until I reached an optimum level. Now if you told me that you were harvesting crops off the field every year that changes things.

From: RIT
25-Jun-20

RIT's embedded Photo
Setting up fall brassicas with Medium Red and Winter Rye the fall before
RIT's embedded Photo
Setting up fall brassicas with Medium Red and Winter Rye the fall before
In 5 weeks I will kill this clover and and in mid August I will plant brassicas into it with no soil test. No praying though because I know there is a bunch of N in the bank. That’s 18” Medium Red clover with drying down WR. I’ll even get volunteer WR mixed in with the brassicas.

From: Pat Lefemine
25-Jun-20
With all due respect, not everyone has rich moist soils. Some have very poor soils that absolutely require fertilizers and amendments every year to get any semblance of a food plot. Consider yourself blessed.

From: RIT
25-Jun-20
Pat for the record I have terrible soil. Medium to heavy compacted clay and another section that I don’t even know how describe. It’s a droughty light rock infested dumpster fire. Tis the reason I had to change things up. If it stopped raining everything I planted into tilled or disced soil died.

From: RIT
25-Jun-20

RIT's embedded Photo
Try running your disc or tiller thru this. Limestone outcroppings all over the place. Basketball size rocks at every turn.
RIT's embedded Photo
Try running your disc or tiller thru this. Limestone outcroppings all over the place. Basketball size rocks at every turn.

From: RIT
25-Jun-20

RIT's embedded Photo
We are way off topic but you can change your soil over time.
RIT's embedded Photo
We are way off topic but you can change your soil over time.
When one chooses to do a soil test is completely up to them. I am simply offering a different view. It’s going on 5 years without one for me. I choose to understand soil biology over pouring in inputs. Each person will have to make that decision when the time comes.

From: Catscratch
25-Jun-20
Once again I'm with RIT. Sand can be made into soil and clay can be loosened Inputs generally go against what the soil needs and are costly, but everybody can choose how to handle their situation. It's also been 5yrs for me since I added anything but gypsum. Synthetics can be completely replaced with plants, bacteria, and fungi. Our soils have eons worth of minerals in them, just got to figure out how to unlock them.

From: Fuzzy
26-Jun-20
RIT that soil looks pretty good to me. LOL

I'm on a mountaintop with a baseline soil pH under 5.0 (where there IS any soil, most places weathered bedrock is less than 18") and the parent rock contains acidifiers. The shallow water table (perching on bedrock) means that we get significant denitrification (and if you have a seasonal water table or a perching zone in your soil you may well get denitrification too) which means that (unless your plantings are all legumes) you can add nitrates and never crop and still lose nitrates.

From: Fuzzy
26-Jun-20
Catscratch I agree completely, I'm just saying a soil test is a good way to access centuries of science-based "figuring out", for less than the cost of a six pack of good beer.

From: Fuzzy
26-Jun-20
Like many things there are many perspectives, based on individual experiences. Most of my experiences are with thin, acid, played-out soils, and I've dedicated years to soil building on a shoestring budget. I can show you a property that was once a town dump, capped with rocky clay soil in the 1970's and no topsoil or soil amendments. When I took over management in 1989 it hrd large areas that wouldn't even grow weeds, most of the cover was scrub locust, sericia lespedeza and fescue grass. After 14 years of soil building it'll grow anything. It's currently in hay crops.

From: JSW
14-Jul-20
I think the answer to this depends on where you live. If you live in the east or southeast you are dealing with "old soil" which needs a lot more attention. If you live in the midwest, especially Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa you have what I've heard called "new soil". The quality of the soil is much better and unless you are trying to make a living off of it, testing the soil is not as important. I tested all of my Kansas soil once. It is good enough to not require adding to it.

Certainly adding fertilizer would make it better but I've not seen the need to do that. I tend to try to rotate more often so I can get by without adding anything but the seed.

From: happygolucky
14-Jul-20
I do soil tests every year. That helps me save on fertilizer and helps me make sure my ph is where I want it.

From: RIT
15-Jul-20

RIT's Link
I just watched a video from Mr. North Dakota... Gabe Brown... named one of the top 25 influential agricultural leaders in America.

He mentioned something interesting. That thing was how worthless soil test actually are. Damn near every test tells you that you have a nutrient deficiency. But in fact that simply isn’t true. You have a soil biology problem. Instead a total nutrient extraction test is what should be used. There are a ton of nutrients in the top 12” of soil they just need to be unlocked.

From: Fuzzy
20-Jul-20
lol..ok you win :)

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