In this video from K-State Research and Extension, soil scientist Dorivar Ruiz Diaz says soil sampling in the fall is a farmer’s best friend when it comes to maximizing next spring’s investment in fertilizer.

“With high fertilizer prices, it’s particularly important to have accurate information on the nutrient levels in our (cropland) soils,” he said.

He said farmers should be aware that that dry conditions in much of Kansas this year could impact their ability to get an accurate soil analysis.

For example, he said a soil’s pH level – a measure of how acidic or basic the soil is – can be misleading depending on the accumulation of solids or hydrogen at the surface.

To get an accurate sample for pH and other immobile nutrients, Ruiz Diaz said K-State recommends taking a sample at six inches depth.

For mobile nutrients – such as nitrogen – K-State’s recommendation is to take a sample at 24 inches deep.

Soil samples can be submitted to local extension offices in Kansas, which then forward the samples for lab analysis on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

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