NCERA013: Soil Testing and Plant Analysis
Statement of Issues and JustificationSoil testing and plant analysis remain the cornerstones of economically profitable and environmentally sustainable crop production systems. Insufficient fertilizer inputs will negatively impact crop yield and profitability, while excessive fertilizer applications, especially of nitrogen and phosphorus, can negatively impact surface- and ground-water quality. Methods for soil testing and plant analysis continue to evolve as analytical methods and crop production strategies change; and no single agricultural research and extension institution has the resources required to develop and validate all of the soil and plant testing methodologies currently used in the North Central region. However, research conducted in one state is often relevant to other states so cooperation and data sharing among states avoids unnecessary duplication of research and helps extend the utility of individual research results for extension related activities. The majority of producer soil and plant tissue samples in the North Central region are now analyzed by commercial laboratories, increased communication between land grant universities and commercial laboratories is vital to ensure consistency in soil testing and plant analysis methods and interpretation. Improved collaboration with this committee and commercial laboratories will be an area of emphasis in this project. In addition, land grant university guidance documents for fertilizer recommendations and soil and plant tissue sampling have become regulatory documents for livestock operations that must comply with the USEPA CAFO rule, so there is a great need to ensure that current approaches for soil and plant tissue sampling and interpretation meet the dual goals of optimum production and environmental protection. A distinct need continues for a regional committee to stimulate and encourage interstate cooperation and transfer of soil testing and plant analysis information among land grant universities, commercial laboratories, state and federal agencies, and the diverse clientele served by these entities. The NCERA013 Committee serves to meet this need by facilitating cooperative research and educational programs in soil testing and plant analysis throughout the North Central region.
Last Modified: 25-May-2011
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