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Old 12-29-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Okay, wannabee farmer here. If anyone could help with the interpretation of this soil test, it would be appreciated.

PH3 6.3
Phosphorus 37 lb/a
Potassium 137 lbs/a
Calcium 2,124 lbs/a
Magnesium 549 lbs/a
Organic matter 2.7
Neutralizable acidity 0.5 meq/100g.
Cation exchange capacity 8.3 meq/100g.

Then it makes these comments/recommendations per acre to get a yield of 3 T/a of hay:

N 120 P205 30 K20 125

Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

Amy
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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Girl I do not have a clue!!! I think somewhere in your county there is an extension office that would know. You local feed and seed stores should know how to find them.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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Thanks Driller,

That's who we took the soil sample to, the local extension, so I will call them, but figured I wouldn't sound quite so....ummmm, uninformed (read dumb as dirt), if I had a slight clue about any of it. We did confess to being greenhorn newbie farmer wannabees when we took in the soil. So, he may be expecting a call. I know there are some old timers on here who probably can just look at a field and know what it needs. One thing that seemed clear is that the limestone suggestions box said 0, so guess it doesn't need any.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:55 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tambre View Post
Thanks Driller,

That's who we took the soil sample to, the local extension, so I will call them, but figured I wouldn't sound quite so....ummmm, uninformed (read dumb as dirt), .
I remember a teacher telling the class when I was in high school: "It's not a stupid question if you don't know the answer..." I never forgot that.

You're trying to learn and I would think the folks at the extension office would be more than happy to help you out. That's what they're there for.

Tambre is not dumb as dirt.

You're way ahead of me. I've never tested my soil. I've been meaning to test my garden soil, but just never got around to it. I do know the farm stores sell test kits. I need to do that.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:02 PM
 
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Tambre, ask questions!!!!! In 2000 I did not even know those white pieces of 5" pipes were water wells!!!!!
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
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Good luck with that. I found a site that might help clear it up or it will confuse you more lol.

Agriculture: How To Interpret Your Soil Test Report

At least you will have a better understanding before you contact the extension office.
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:59 AM
 
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Thanks Mo, Driller and Lisa,

Too funny Driller about the white PVC. Makes me feel a lot better about not knowing about something. Guess there is a learning curve to everything. MoNative, thanks for the reminder about questions never being dumb. Better to light a candle (ask questions) than to curse the darkness. Lisa, that was a very helpful link. I'm going to call the extension office today, with some more confidence due to that information.
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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Amy, you need lots of fertilizer by the looks, but not all is bad. Your PH level is pretty good, 7 is perfect (neutral) but you are just a tough on the acidic side. Not bad though, my unfarmed acidic soil is far worse (5.5 ish)

Overall your numbers are pretty low indicating that your land has either been fallow for a long time, been in pasture with too few animals to properly fertilize it, or continuously hayed or cropped without fertilizer. You can tell a lot by your organic matter content. 2.7 is low, but sadly in America that is average for farmland. Mine is through the roof at 8%.

Consider organic matter as soil gold...and it is. You can bump it up with all matter of stuff but manure of some kind is best. If you are looking to pasture animals, then you will improve it with just that. Animals like sheep, goats and cows poo 85% of what they eat right back out. In no time you will fertilize your land. A short cut is to import off-farm manure if you can, but be careful of laws. Here in Maine a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP)is required for imported manure over 99 tons. That meanslocal farmers can only bring in less than 99 tons of manure. It may sound like a lot but really its not. It takes 10 tons of manure per acre to increase your organic content by 1%. To go from 2.7 to 7 would require 40 tons of manure per acre roughly.

Way more on this subject that I will add when I get more time.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:30 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
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Hey Brokentap, Are you aware of slaughter waste?? I'm not sure that's the official name, but its a fertilizer from hair and hide. My neighbors use it every few years on their crop ground during the winter and sometimes hayfields. The company trucks the product in in dumptrucks and a large commercial machine spreads it. It does have a peculiar smell that goes away after a month or so. Could that be a low cost alternative? If so, I'd go for that option on my place. Thanks!
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoNative34 View Post
Hey Brokentap, Are you aware of slaughter waste?? I'm not sure that's the official name, but its a fertilizer from hair and hide. My neighbors use it every few years on their crop ground during the winter and sometimes hayfields. The company trucks the product in in dumptrucks and a large commercial machine spreads it. It does have a peculiar smell that goes away after a month or so. Could that be a low cost alternative? If so, I'd go for that option on my place. Thanks!
Yes I have heard of it and the official name is "Offal" You have to be careful with some of this stuff though, some think that using Bloodmeal as fertilizer, which is ground up animal parts, might have lead to Britain's Mad Cow Disease outbreak. ??? Another disease that I am at risk for is Johnes Disease (pronounced Yo-Nees) That comes from infected cows and resides in an infected cows manure and can live inthe soil for up to a year. In my case where I rely heavily on dairy cow manure for fertilizer, my lambs are suseptible to the disease so you have to weigh your options carefully.

One problem I run into is with Lime. My acidic soil needs lots of lime, and yet its expensive. I can get a free lime slurry by-product from the papermills here, and that worked good for years. Now though, they mix that fly-ash with sludge from waste water treatment plants in order to get rid of it. You see farmers want the lime product but not the sludge, so they mix it in order to get rid of it. That was something they just started last year. They bill it as "compost", but I have no interest in having human waste from major cities on my farm, so now I have to buy lime.

The key to remember here that every kind of imported fertilizer has risks and problems. Even "compost" may be a mixture of things that you may not want. Its not that the sky is falling, its just that you have to weight the risks with the benefits. In my case I know liquid dairy cow manure has a high organic matter content and allows this farm to really produce high yields. But Johnes Disease may lurk in this imported manure and is a serious concern so I have to really be careful that my new born lambs are not grazing on treated fields.
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