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Improve nutrient management, collect tissue samples

Photo courtesy of WinField United

“Soil conditions and weather play a role in the access plants have to nutrients,” says Eric Hanson, agronomist for WinField United.

Cold, wet conditions this year limitied nutrient availability, further creating nutrient deficiencies. Hanson speaks to equipping plants with the essential nutrients, regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you.

The 4 Rs of nutrient stewardship are right source, right rate, right time, and right place. All play a critical role in providing crops access to essential nutrients. Hanson further stresses the importance aligning all four Rs.

“Making sure we have the right nutrients in place when plants need them is critical so the plants can optimize their yield and do that efficiently. If the plant is not able to efficiently take up those nutrients and utilize them, then we end up overapplying and wasting fertilizer we could have turned into yield,” Hanson said. “We’re trying to improve our efficiency and productivity by increasing our production to reduce the cost per unit of bushel.”

Producers can capture nutrient availability on a field-by-field basis through soil sampling. Hanson goes on to add, “My best advice would be to not stop there.”

“I’m a big fan of doing soil samples in the fall,” Hanson said. “I want growers to look at utilizing tissue samples throughout the growing season to help manage/monitor fertility season long. That helps us understand when we are deficient in a nutrient and correct those deficiencies midstream.”

WinField United collected thousands of tissue samples over the past decade. The vast amount of information is used to identify trends among nutrients, particularly when they tend to go deficient. 

To access this data, visit www.winfieldunited.com or a local cooperative and/or independent retailer that partners with WinField United.