Soil test

“Without a soil test, he’s either going to be putting out too few nutrients to get what he needs out of that grass production, or he may be actually be over applying nutrients, and at the cost that they are today, he doesn’t need to be buying any nutrients that he doesn’t need in the pasture.”

LARRY REDMON IS A PROFESSOR AND STATE FORAGE SPECIALIST WITH TEXAS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION.

“Soil acidity robs the plant of the ability to take up nutrients, and so the first thing they need to address, is if that soil test comes back and says they have an acidic soil situation, limestone is the first thing they need to talk about getting into that pasture.”

GRAZING SYSTEMS REQUIRE LESS FERTILIZATION THAN HAY PRODUCING SYSTEMS.

“Unlike the grazing system where we’re actually recycling most of the nutrients back into that soil. In haying situations, we’re actually mining nutrients out of the soil. Unless we replace those at the same level we’re removing them, then over time we can reduce the productivity capability of that particular site.”

WHILE NITROGEN IS SECOND ONLY TO MOISTURE AS A LIMITING GROWTH FACTOR, OTHER NUTRIENTS ARE IMPORTANT.

“Phosphorous is really important in root growth and development and certainly that can be critical, especially during drought times like we had last year. Potassium’s the same way. It’s involved in water use relations, very important in drought tolerance, but also in cold tolerance, and disease resistance for Bermuda grass.”

AND DR. REDMON EMPHASIZES THAT A SOIL TEST WILL TELL YOU WHAT THE RIGHT MIX OF FERTILZER IS.

“I tell people it’s like having a full tank on your automobile, but no grease in the wheel bearings. You can have all of the nitrogen you need, but if you don’t have the right amount of phosphorous and potassium, the system’s not going to work for you, it’s not going to work very well.”

SO WHETHER YOU’RE GROWING A LAWN, A PASTURE FOR GRAZING, OR HAY TO BE HARVESTED, ONE OF THE RECIPES FOR SUCCESS SEEMS TO BE CLEAR…GET A SOIL TEST. I’M JOE BROWN, TAKING A LOOK AT BRAZOS VALLEY AGRICULTURE, FROM THE GROUND UP.


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