From the very beginning of Homo sapiens’ existence, humans had a need in a couple of professions, helping them in developing and improving their lives. One of the most important crafts in those days was an agronomist and a doctor, the need in which remains in our days as well. Methods and processes of the way doctors work have already been thoroughly studied at the common everyday situations. As for the agronomists, the specifics of their work for many still remain a mystery. It is by comparing these two professions that I suggest you to find out the specifics of the agronomist’s work. And this can help you avoid some mistakes in the future and learn lessons that will help increase your yield.
Each of us has consulted a doctor in order to solve certain problems that may arise in our body. Unwillingly, we go to the hospital to see our family doctor. He listens carefully to the problem and perhaps makes some manipulations. Then, he sends us to a highly specialized doctor who has great competence and experience in a particular issue.
Let’s take a closer look at the process of agrochemical analysis using the following example.
Soil is the same organism that contains both mineral and organic substances, including a large group of specific compounds involved in soil formation. An integral part of the soil are living organisms: the plants’ root systems, animals of different sizes living in the soil and a huge variety of microorganisms.
In other words, the soil is an organism similar in its functionality to a human, which needs constant and careful care.
Some people can harm their body by their bad habits or improper diet. Soil can be affected by many other factors: abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic. Man has the greatest and strongest influence on the soil, sometimes harming it without even realizing it.
Coming back to the above-mentioned analogy, there’s a question that might appear: when exactly do we address the doctor? When we saw or felt a clear sign of discomfort, pain or illness. To determine the cause of the problem, you will have to take a blood test or any other tests so that the disease is accurately diagnosed and identified.
The same thing happens in the fields. After the sowing campaign, just as the family doctor registers the patient, so the agronomist “registers” the field and begins monitoring its “health”. He observes the plants growth and development at all stages from germination to the harvesting. Being in the field during an intensive growth, the agronomist can see chlorosis – an illness caused by iron deficiency. The plant goes through the following “symptoms”: stunted growth, color turns pale green or yellowish. Plant’s development slows down.
It is at this stage that the agronomist looks for the cause of what happened, as well as all the possible options leading to a solution to this problem. Just like any good doctor looks for the information in medical textbooks, an agronomist looks for information in many sources about the amount of iron that plants need, the effects of iron deficiency, who can make a diagnosis of plants, where to find the suitable fertilizer, how to deliver it, what fertilizer application technique to use. All this has to be done in one day, as the plants won’t wait! We urgently need to prepare the operating room to save this patient possibly suffering from chlorosis!
Having found and studied all the preliminary data on the recent foliar feeding, the agronomist realizes that there was no iron in the tank mixture.
And the agronomist begins scrolling through all the scenarios in his head and talking to himself:
– Have you correctly prescribed nutrition technology?
– Everyone does this!
– It works at my neighbour’s. Why it doesn’t work for me?
– What is going on in your soil?
As practice shows, many of us, unfortunately, do not know the exact composition of their soil: how many macro-, meso-, microelements and humus are there. This agronomist was lucky for some time, because this field used to be a pasture. Having his conventional knowledge and being lucky enough, he applied fertilizers only to the needs of crops and often forgot about crop rotation. Up to this moment, there were no problems with yield and, despite such mistakes, he still had good yields due to the good potential of the incorporated elements indicators and fertility indicators in the field. But time passed, the elements deterioration reached its climax, because everything has its own resource.
And here we come back to Liebig’s Law, also known as the law of limiting factors. This law states that the productivity of a plant is affected not by the most sufficient resource, but by the most deficient one. This means that the plant will produce as much yield as the smallest available nutrient allows.
As mentioned before, the doctor sends one to a highly specialized doctor who must do tests and diagnosis for determining the cause of the disease. For better understanding of the soil resources, we have to go back to the initial stages of the technological map formation. This process is similar to passing the tests in a hospital, but this one involves taking soil samples and sending them to an agrochemical laboratory.
Agrochemical soil analysis is the basis, without which it is impossible to build an effective crop nutrition system.
Therefore, it must be carried out for finding out the soil solution (pH)reaction, soluble salts, carbonate content, cation exchange capacity, base saturation, particle size distribution, content of organic matter (humus), available forms of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, nitrate nitrogen, zinc, sulfur , boron, manganese, copper and iron. It is these indicators that are most often used to build a nutrition system for agricultural crops.
Determination of the content of basic nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and macronutrients is recommended to be performed at least once in 1-2 years, microelements – at least once in 3-4 years. Timing may vary due to intensive agricultural production with high fertilization rates.
As a result, this analysis will give an opportunity to monitor these indicators regularly and on an ongoing basis and therefore will allow:
- to determine the optimal rates and time of fertilizers application;
- to differentiate the fertilizers application;
- to determine the limiting factor;
- to use the most effective types of fertilizers.
For agricultural producers, agrochemical soil analysis will optimize the spendings for fertilizers and make them work efficiently on every hectare of their fields. Therefore, we can rationally allocate time for application, use financial resources efficiently, and at the same time increase the potential of each crop.
We are mighty sure that the problem can be solved if you know where the problem actually is! Don’t take an agrochemical analysis as something expensive. Its price is justified and it is your contribution to the soil for future years. The analysis shows the real picture of the availability of resources in your soil. The money you invest now will return a hundredfold with an increase in yield productivity in the future.
Therefore, we urge you to take care of yourself and your harvest!
If you have any questions regarding the nutrition of your plants, I will be happy to answer them as part of the Wonder LLC program “Agronomist 24/7”
We wish you really high yields!
Expert agronomist to Wonder LLC