zone based soil tests
Zone based soil tests are an absolute necessity for proper variable-rate fertilizer advice.
Did you know some variable-rate service providers don't even soil test? A couple in Saskatchewan have been guilty of this. Coming from a company that spends 3-4 months of the year soil sampling with multiple trucks, we can assure you that you have holes in your head and your wallet if you ever pay for that kind of service.
Why CropPro Is Doing Zone Soil Sampling Right:
Like everyone else, we used to only sample mid-slopes and spent our time doing that right. Now, we have moved almost exclusively to Zone soil sampling as most of our acres are under variable-rate. Now the data we get from fields is awesome. We are now able to sample the extremes such as the peat sloughs, sandy areas, saline spots, eroded knolls, water accumulating depressions, and the mid-slopes. Now we know what is going on everywhere in the field!
Zone based sampling gives us 5X the data and a very high level of confidence in what is happening each and every year. In the flooded out years such as 2010 in the north and 2011 in the south we were able to find which summerfallow fields had very high levels of residual nitrogen and which fields had very low levels. Even in normal years there will be a lot of variability in soil test levels.
Never consider a fancy map or the latest software can magically predict and calculate what is happening in your soil. That's just junk. Why would you pay someone to "predict" what is in the soil rather than get the actual levels of residual nutrients? Hire consultants who just go out and do the work - go do the sampling and get the results and then you know what is happening. We don't just guess.