Before you plant next year, be sure to soil test. That's the advice from agronomists across the country involved in the Phosphorus 101 Education Project.

A study by the Potash and Phosphate Institute (PPI) compiled 2.5 million soil samples and discovered that phosphorus levels are low. In South Dakota and North Dakota, for example, levels are 60-90% below 20 ppm, the level at which fertilizing is most likely to improve yields in the first year. So, experts say, you could be leaving significant productivity untapped.

Overall, 47% of soil samples taken from North American cropland have “barely adequate to inadequate” levels, according to the survey.

“We strongly recommend soil testing as the best guidance a farmer can get on where to add nutrients,” says George Rehm, soil scientist at the University of Minnesota.

Participants in the project are agronomy experts from both private and public sectors, including the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Cargill Crop Nutrition and PPI.

Focus On Oil And Protein

Selecting soybean varieties based on levels of protein and oil content, as well as yield, is part of the Select Yield Quality Initiative. Now Monsanto and Nitragin have joined the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board (USB) and other industry partners in the effort to increase competitiveness of U.S. soybeans.

They'll be sponsoring a series of grower meetings to carry the Select Yield and Quality message.

  • December 1, Ramada Plaza Suites, Fargo, ND

  • December 2, Holiday Inn and Convention Center, Willmar, MN

  • December 10, Ramada Inn Airport, Sioux Falls, SD

  • December 11, Forum at Buena Vista College, Storm Lake, IA

  • December 12, Pavilion at Saunders County Fairgrounds, Wahoo, NE.

For more information, contact USB's Mark Winkle at 888-579-1580.