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Learning to maximize soil fertility dollars

Photo courtesy of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Marshall County will host a soil fertility workshop at the county extension office in Marshalltown, on Aug. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon, with a focus on interpreting soil test results to make more informed fertilizer decisions for both row crops and forage crops. This workshop will be led by Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“With high fertilizer prices, many farmers are interested in evaluating how to trim costs,” said Anderson. “For fertilizer, we want to selectively maximize economic returns to fertilizer expense by understanding how to interpret soil test results and how to use the results to make fertilizer recommendations.”

Even if someone already has soil testing and recommendations hired out to an agribusiness, this workshop will assist participants in gaining better understanding of how recommendations are made, how crop response correlates to soil test nutrient levels, and what is known about crop response to micronutrients, and will help them to decide where it makes the most sense to reduce fertilizer costs while improving farm income.

Specific topics to be covered during the workshop include the importance of soil testing and interpreting soil test results, calculating nutrient removal rates, and understanding the odds of getting a return on a fertilizer investment.

Participants should feel free to bring along a copy of their soil test results. The cost to attend is $25 per person and covers lunch and workshop materials. Certified Crop Adviser continuing education units will be available for the workshop.

Pre-register by Friday, Aug. 19, by contacting the ISU Extension and Outreach Marshall County office at 641-752-1551 or chelsea@iastate.edu. Space is limited to the first 30 registrants.