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October 19, 2016     Sentinel Tribune
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October 19, 2016
 

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Page 3 O Soil health and how to improve and maintain it has been a hot topic in agriculture recently. Soil tests, includ- ing the Haney Test, have been developed to help measure indicators of soil health such When soil is sent to a labora- extensive correlation and cal- University of Minnesota. indicated much lower tory for analysis, specific ibration research across This is important as soil type, amounts of available nitrogen procedures and extractants Minnesota in developing fer- soil pH, precipitation, tern- than standard soil testing pro- are used to determine the tilizer guidelines, using start- perature, soil organic matter, cedures (37 to 97 lbs/acre estimated availability of dard soil testing procedures cropping rotation, and soil less). These lower amounts nutrients. Different extracts and extractants, and this parent material influence soil with the Haney Test would and procedures will typically research continues, nutrient availability and ulti- trigger a higher nitrogen as microbial activity, the result in different estimates Little to no correlation and mately fertilizer application amount of carbon in the soil, of nutrient availability. A calibration research has been needs. and nutrient availability. As soil test is considered "corre- done with the procedures and Avoid the risk of over- and lated" when lower yield and plant growth can be predicted at lower soil test values, and higher yield and plant growth can be predicted at higher soil test values. It is then important to determine how much fertiliz- er is needed to meet crop nutrient needs at different soil test levels. This is called calibration. The University of Minnesota has conducted extractants utilized by non- standard tests like the Haney Test in Minnesota. It is also important to note that soil test results from a lab may include fertilizer rec- ommendations that are not based on correlation and cali- bration research conducted in Minnesota and that recom- mendations listed as a "University" recommenda- tion may not be from the under-application of nutri- ents: To help compare results from the Haney Test to standard soil testing proce- dures, trials were conducted at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton in 2015, support- ed by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and NCR-SARE. When samples were collected in the spring, the Haney Test more farmers use soil health tests, the question arises if results from these tests can or should be used in determin- ing fertilizer needs for crops like corn in Minnesota. The importance of correla- tion and calibration: To help address this question, it is critical to recognize the importance of correlation and calibration in developing fer- tilizer recommendations. Despite some untimely rains the harvest is going quite well with reports of 60 to 70 bushel beans. Most of the beans have been taken out, and a good start on corn is underway. application rate than when using standard testing proce- dures and U of MN Fertility Guidelines. This trial dem- onstrates some of the risks involved (higher input costs, potential negative environ- mental impacts) with using non-standard soil testing pro- cedures and recommenda- tions. In evaluations across 12 on-farm sites in 2016 (sup- ported by the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council), recommended potassium rates were 90 to 205 lbs/acre greater with the Haney Test compared to stan- dard soil testing procedures with U of MN fertility guide- lines. Differences were also found for phosphorus, rang- ing from -85 lbs/acre to + 35 lbs/acre, when using the Haney test versus standard soil testing procedures with U of MN fertility guidelines. Bottom Line: Soil health tests can give a snapshot of soil characteristics not typi- cally measured by standard testing procedures and they can be used to help demon- strate contrasts in manage- ment practices. When deter- mining fertilizer needs for your crop, however, it is rec- ommended to stick with soil testing procedures and fertil- izer guidelines that have been correlated and calibrated through many years of research in your own state. For more details, check out the "University of Minnesota Extension Fertility Guidelines for Field Crops" publication and other crops-related infor- mation on the University of Minnesota Extension Crops website at: z.umn.edu/crops . Minnesota to Host First State Government Career Fair on Oct. This fall, the State of Minnesota will host a first ever enterprise-wide career fair, bringing together repre- sentatives from every state agency to connect Minnesotans with opporttmi- ties in state government. Attendees will learn about current job openings, net- work with state leaders, and attend resume and applica- tion workshops. The State of Minnesota is the state's largest employer, with over 50,000 people at more than 100 agencies, boards, and colleges. From Crookston to the Twin Cities to Rochester, at any given time, there are hundreds of job opportunities throughout the state. State employees have access to excellent health and financial benefits, ongoing professional devel- opment, opportunity for long-term career growth and advancement, and pride in knowing that your work is helping to build a better Minnesota. From recent col- lege graduates to profession- als looking for a new chal- lenge, the State of Minnesota has a job in just about every field. 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