Nutrient Stewardship New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and set goals for growth and improvement for the coming year. While you may have many different goals for your business – increase profit, make new equipment purchases, implement new processes to increase efficiency – we zeroed in on a few New Year’s resolutions to help improve your nutrient stewardship practices.

Resolution #1: Ace the Soil Tests

Conducting soil tests at the right time is crucial to an efficient and effective nutrient stewardship strategy. Soil fertility experts recommend a composite sample of no fewer than 15-20 soil cores that represent no fewer than 20 acres. It is recommended to take soil samples around the same time each year to ensure accurate year-over-year results, with sampling occurring in the fall if possible for the most accurate results. Keep records of your soil samples so you can effectively benchmark and analyze trends. Read more on soil testing here.

Resolution #2: Look Beyond Just N, P and K

While the three macronutrients are undoubtedly essential to plant growth, the role of secondary and micronutrients is equally vital. Plants typically require them in smaller amounts, but secondary and micronutrients are essential to plant functions like nutrient absorption, photosynthesis, structural integrity and increasing yields. Make sure your soil tests and nutrient prescriptions address more than just the “big three.” Read more on the 17 essential nutrients needed by plants here.

Resolution #3: Take Control of Loss

Are you losing your valuable nutrient investment to environmental loss mechanisms? Nitrogen is often one of a grower’s largest investments and may be one of the greatest losses if applied conventionally. Nitrogen can be lost to leaching, denitrification, and volatilization at any time, which is exacerbated by volatile weather often seen in the spring. When making your nitrogen decision, consider a nitrogen source that protects against all three of these loss mechanisms like ESN Smart Nitrogen®. ESN has a protective polymer coating which releases nitrogen to your crops when they need it, in response to soil temperature. Learn more about ESN here.

What are your New Year’s resolutions for your farm business? Tweet us at @smartnitrogen and let us know!