Soil Nutrient Benchmarking Project Seeks Farmers

Soil Nutrient Benchmarking Project Seeks Farmers

Iowa growers wanting to learn more about nutrients in farm fields are urged to enroll in 2012 Nutrient Management Benchmarking project.

Iowa growers who want to learn more about the nutrients in their farm fields and the availability of nutrients for use by crops, are encouraged to enroll in the Iowa Soybean Association's On-Farm Network 2012 Nutrient Management Benchmarking project.

This is the second year of this project, which involves soil and leaf tissue testing to establish current levels of major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) as well as sulfur, boron, zinc and a number of other minor and micro-nutrients in their fields. Last year's program involved more than 500 soybean and corn growers across the state.

Soil Nutrient Benchmarking Project Seeks Farmers

Over the years, most row crop and forage producers have used soil testing to determine how much fertilizer (particularly nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) that they'll need to apply to feed their crops. Leaf tissue testing adds another dimension to that assessment. By comparing the leaf tissue to the soil test, they can learn whether their crop is actually taking up sufficient nutrients to produce an optimal yield.

Farmers who participate in this program will receive individual reports

Participating growers will receive their own individual reports as soon as they're processed through the lab. Aerial imagery will also be provided for the fields, and growers will be instructed on how to recognize potentially higher or lower yielding areas as shown in the imagery. Additionally, participating growers will be able to compare and discuss their results with other growers at small local group meetings after harvest.

A statewide summary will be posted at, and also be presented at the 2013 On-Farm Network Research Conference in February 2013. Participating growers will receive free admission to the 2012 conference. Go to for summaries of findings from the 2011 program.

What can the 2012 nutrient benchmarking program do for you?

Go to the ISA On-Farm Network website at www for more details about the 2012 Nutrient Benchmarking Program. Growers are encouraged to use the online program registration page to sign up. Before registering, growers can also print a worksheet to help them organize their information. Cost of this program is $220 for an 80-acre field. Sign-up deadline for this program is Saturday, July 14.

The On-Farm Network is a program of the Iowa Soybean Association. ISA develops policies and programs that help farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The Association is governed by an elected volunteer board of 21 farmers. To learn more about ISA, visit its website at The On-Farm Network is funded in part by the soybean checkoff.

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