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One sample or several?
One composite sample per field can provide an overall impression of soil nutrient levels. For composite, take 15-20 cores from the most productive areas – not hilltops, not low points, not saline areas. Divide each pit by depth and put them in separate buckets. Suggested depths are 0-6″ and 6-24″, or a three-way division of 0-6″, 6-12″ and 12-24″. Submit a separate sample for each depth.
With composite samples, farms can create fertilizer blends specific to each field’s needs. If field-specific fertilizer blends are not logistically possible, a compromise is to apply the same blend at different rates to match the yield goal for each field.
Area sampling increases accuracy. Instead of one composite sample per field, the CCC recommends submitting composites for each productivity zone in the field. Zones are generally based on differences in productivity which can be quite predictable based on soil characteristics, drainage, or elevation. Three areas could be hilltop, mid-slope and low areas.
For each area, follow sampling methods similar to the composite sample technique. This could mean six or more samples per field (two depths for three areas, for example), but this method can provide meaningful results for fields with higher levels of soil variability and can indicate the potential value of soil applications. variable rate fertilizer.
The Canadian government funds the Canola 4R Advantage program
The new Canola 4R Advantage program offers a financial incentive to soil test fields that have not been sampled under a 4R nutrient stewardship plan in the past.
Canola 4R Advantage, funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) Agricultural Climate Solutions, is a voluntary program that helps farmers initiate or advance stewardship practices 4R nutrients.
Canola growers can apply for funding to help pay for practices that can improve nitrogen management. Eligible practices include soil testing, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, preferred application timing, and field area mapping. Farmers can apply for funding for up to two practices per year. Up to 85% of eligible costs can be reimbursed – up to $12,000 per farm each year. To learn more about the program, including guidelines and application, visit canolacouncil.org/4r-advantage.
– Warren Ward is an agronomist at the Canola Council of Canada.
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