Jim Goss isn’t ready to declare tissue tests obsolete. But if field trials of a new resin-based technology continue to pan out, he thinks he may have found a new early warning system to detect unexpected nutrient deficiencies early enough to prevent yield losses.

“Currently, we follow up on symptoms of nutrient deficiencies with a tissue test,” says Goss, who oversees management of farms in east-central Illinois for AG Farm Management, Urbana. “We can stop further yield declines with a rescue treatment, but we are generally too late to eliminate losses.”

 

 

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The new resin technology can detect soil nutrients available to the crop. The goal is to identify deficiencies before symptoms occur, and early enough for nutrient applications that could boost yield.

“This has the potential to be far more effective than tissue testing,” says Goss, who has used the resin technology on a dozen farms over the past three years. “It may not be as good as the invention of soil testing 100 years ago, but I have seen enough to be excited.”