Pre-sidedress nitrate tests (PSNTs) are an emerging method to help no-tillers make more accurate nitrogen recommendations at sidedressing time for corn in the four- to six-leaf stage.
The lag time in getting results for PSNTs through a typical laboratory — sometimes a week or more — can be a disadvantage of using the test, especially if big changes occur in the weather while the results are pending.
But a new rapid test developed by Solum Inc. to calculate residual nitrate levels in fields could help no-tillers get more timely results from the tests. Solum borrowed a technique used in oceanography that utilizes ultraviolet light to look at the absorption of nitrate-nitrogen in moistened-soil samples.
With Solum’s “No Wait Nitrate” rapid system, soil samples are blended with water. The slurry is processed by a self-contained machine and measured by an optical device to show what the levels are in parts per million (ppm).
The system can be used for a variety of nutrient management and monitoring applications, including PSNT, pre-plant nitrate testing or monitoring nitrogen mineralization and leaching with regularly timed soil sampling.
“The big difference is that we don’t dry and grind…