Soil Archives - Ward Laboratories Inc.

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Soil
Starter fertilizer has become common place in today’s row crop production systems. This approach of applying fertility at planting takes many forms–with the seed, 2’’ by 2’’, 2” to the side on the surface or simply on the ground behind the press wheel. The goal is to provide vital nutrients to young plants to overcome...
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1. Soil Respiration The first part of the Haney Soil Health Test is soil respiration test or CO2 24 hr. burst test is an indicator of soil microbial biomass.  When we receive the sample we dry the soil over night at 110 F and then crush the soil and collect soil that passes through a...
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There are 5 principles of soil health as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation District. Armor the Soil (keep crop residue on the soil to prevent errosion)Minimal Soil Disturbance (No-Till)Plant Diversity (Grow more than just row crops, consider cover crop mixes)Keep a continual live root in the soil (again cover crops) But it is the...
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The Role of Bacteria Feeding soil microbes includes feeding fungi and bacteria present within the soil. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are generally 4/100,000 of an inch wide and long. A teaspoon of healthy soil can contain between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria. Because of their abundance, bacteria play important roles in the way...
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I’d be willing to wager that if you are reading this blog, you’ve probably submitted either soil, water, feed, or another of the numerous things we test, to Ward Laboratories, INC.  Then, once you’ve received your results you’ve probably called in and been able to talk to either Dr. Nick, or Dr. Ray and had...
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Reprint From June 2003 Ward Letter. Ward Laboratories professionals often get questions about surface urea application and UAN solutions. Urea is a dry fertilizer that dissolves with water after application creating urease enzyme activity that is naturally present in all soils at some level. Urease enzyme converts urea to ammonia (NH3) and bicarbonate (HCO3) in...
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What is “regen ag?” If the topic of “fungal to bacterial ratios” peaks your interest, it is likely you are interested in regenerative agriculture. We are entering the age of regenerative agriculture (commonly referred to as “regen ag”). This is a time where novel concepts and rationales are being introduced to farmers. Many producers are...
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In Early September, I wrote a blog post entitled The Downside of Baled Crop Residue. My previous post focused on cornstalks. After harvest, as I traveled across the state, I have observed we have more harvested crop residue to consider. Baling soybean and wheat residues are poor economic decisions and negatively impact soil health of...
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I recently had the opportunity to attend the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing on behalf of Ward Laboratories, Inc.  If you missed out, the video recordings of the conference will be posted here.  The event was packed full of knowledgeable speakers and eager to learn producers.  Here are the key messages from...
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For many years I have seen producers bale their crop residue, specifically cornstalks and soybean stubble, after harvest. This practice has been driven somewhat by feedlot demand after the advent of distillers co-products from ethanol plants in the early 2000’s. Distillers co-products are high in protein and energy for livestock. Therefore,  there is a demand...
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First cutting is starting to come in for NIRS analysis here at Ward Laboratories, INC. That means it’s the season for making hay! So, let’s take a look at how agricultural testing can help producers make quality hay from seeding to feeding! Match the hay production system to resources and environment. Observe the field intended...
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As the animal scientist here at Ward Laboratories, INC. my blog posts typically focus on how feed and forage testing can help producers reach animal production goals. However, at the American Foarage and Grasslands Council Annual Conference, soil sampling pastures came up as one of the top ways producers see as economically beneficial. So, this...
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How many of us producers have a shovel in our pickup? When was the last time we used that shovel to thoroughly examine our soil?  Are we able to determine what a truly healthy soil looks like? Grab a shovel and take a look at your soil. Check out your soil profile. Does the shovel...
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