Besides operating a business that tackles crop consulting work on more than 300,000 acres, Joe Nester serves as the director of a local bank.
A big believer in the many benefits of no-till and effective nutrient management, the crop consultant from Bryan, Ohio, has seen the value of requiring soil tests on ground being considered for purchase.
“On two different tracts of $5,000-per-acre land, one farm may have as much as an extra $1,000 per acre of plant nutrients laying in the soil,” Nester says.
In developing nutrient management plans for farms in Ohio and Indiana, Nester has found that it normally requires about 6 applied pounds of phosphorus to raise soil test results by just 1 pound.
“This is due to unavailable compounds being formed in the soil, while we’re more interested in the plant-available forms,” Nester says. “But as you remove nutrients from the ground, soil test results do not drop by a pound for every pound of nutrients removed.
“The unavailable forms recycle and some becomes available later after the removal of available nutrients.”
Nester finds a soil test analysis that indicates that there is 150 pounds per acre of available phosphorus is equivalent to applying about 900 pounds per acre of the nutrient.
“If 900 pounds is the gross number, that means there’s nearly 2,000 pounds of 18-46-0 (DAP) in the soil,” Nester says. “That represents a nutrient value of about $450 per acre today as indicated by a 150-pound P2O5 test result. But back in…