Tissue Sampling Data Helps Drive Fertilizer Decisions
You just received your tissue sample results. Do you know what the numbers mean and how to use them to make decisions? Contrary to what you might believe, the sampling report is not a stand-alone diagnostic tool. It’s a starting point to help you understand plant health, and when combined with soil sampling and field observations, it can drive management decisions to improve yield.
What’s the Limiting Factor?
Results from your tissue sample offer insight as to which nutrients are sufficient and which are deficient, limiting a plant from reaching its full potential.
“Tissue samples are a snapshot in time, showing how the crop is progressing. Results help identify limiting factors, highlighting which nutrients need to be added in-season to achieve maximum yield potential.” – Chris Beyer; Central Region Sales Manager
You may have heard your CFS agronomist talk about Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. This principle states that the scarcest resource available controls crop growth and that crop yield will only be as good as the most limiting nutrient.
Understanding the Numbers
Your sampling report will indicate the concentration of each reported nutrient, in the tissue sample analyzed, along with a value comparison range. Your CFS agronomist can provide a recommendation for action for nutrients that fall below acceptable values.
Review the sampling report and recommendations with your CFS agronomist. Results shown reflect a snapshot in time.
Crops use nutrients differently at different growth stages. For example, corn plants use most of the available nitrogen between the 8-leaf stage and tasseling, as they grow and prepare to set grain. If sampling before this growth stage reveals a deficiency in plant nitrogen, you may still have time in-season to correct the deficiency and could avoid yield loss.
Farmers see the value of using tissue sampling as a proactive approach to crop nutrient management. At CFS, we have taken more than 3,000 tissue samples throughout the years and identified trends that help farmers make better input decisions.
Use Data to Drive Decisions
Multiple data points gathered throughout the season, and over multiple years, can help you understand how your plants are using nutrients and drive fertilizer product choices and application timing. Crop rotation, seed choices, and management practices can influence nutrient availability over time, and it’s easier to see how those choices affect crop nutrition when you have more data to analyze.
Reviewing trends over time can also help you understand other agronomic issues that may be reducing your yield. For example, if you notice specific fields or areas where plants consistently lack nitrogen, it could indicate poor drainage, poor soil quality, or compaction problems. There may be management steps you can take to remedy the problem and increase fertility in your crops. Tissue sampling results give you an idea of plant nutrient status, but it’s ultimately up to you to investigate your fields and put that information to good use to increase yield.
At CFS, our regional agronomists can answer any remaining tissue sampling questions as well as help set up your tissue sample today.