Many times, when we discuss the cost of soil sampling, farmers get hung up on the cost per acre instead of the value of the test itself. The words “cost” and “value” get mixed and the $9.50 per acre cost becomes a hurdle which is not easily overcome. The value is never realized because the cost is the only item of focus.
At Luckey Farmers, we can take a soil test one of three ways. First, we can sample a field with a composite test, with each sample representing 25 acres or less. Each sample will consist of 6-8 soil cores across the sample area, giving you an overall representative sample of your field. Or, we can break the field into management zones that can be established in a multitude of ways. Similar to a composite sample, but we focus more on that zones specific needs versus the field as a whole. With this method, we can determine nutrient variability and manage your fields fertility by zone. One major difference between composite and zone sampling is that we can create prescriptions based off of zones but cannot create prescriptions off of composite samples in order to stay 4R compliant. Finally, we can break the field up into 2 ½ acre grids, each grid is tested for all nutrients of interest. All of these soil sample procedures allows us to determine nutrient variability to manage your field’s fertility with the goal of improving things like herbicide performance, nutrient availability, and ultimately yield.
Luckey Farmers most often applies MAP, Potash, and Lime VRT (Variable Rate). Through this process, we only apply needed nutrients in the needed areas of a field. The overall goal with soil sampling is to only apply maintenance nutrients to a field, what the crop takes off from grain production, or to slowly build up those areas that are deficient.
Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place. These are the 4 R’s Luckey Farmers has been promoting for several years. How do these rates compare to your operation? Are your rates higher or lower? Are we sampling your fields at the right time? Measurement leads to management and improved return on investment through improved yields, long term. The longer someone has been soil sampling the closer these rates get to maintenance instead of buildup, which in turn reduces cost per acre while improving nutrient availability and yield.
Other valued services we provide are interpretation of results, and data management. Our team keeps track of fields to be sampled and work hard to complete soil tests as soon as the field is ready. Timely collection leads to timely results. We have a close relationship with our lab, A&L Great Lakes, which enables us to have results imported into our software that you also could have access to, for fast turnaround of information, helping our farmers/ owners make sound decisions with actual data.
Luckey Farmers has been at this for a long time. The value will be demonstrated by our experience, understanding, and delivery of results allowing the cost to be better understood.
Samantha Funkhouser, Precision Farming Specialist – Luckey Farmers Inc.