The Art of Balancing Soil Nutrients
A Practical guide to interpreting soil tests
by William 'Crop Doc' McKibben
Your soil test results have arrived. Now what?
- How does your choice of soil testing method influence the results?
- Based on your soil - what do the soil test results really mean?
- Which soil testing method is really the best one for your soil type?
- How do you know when your tests are revealing the entire truth, and when they could be deceptive?
The Art of Balancing Soil Nutrients picks up where classic soil fertility texts end - taking an understanding of soil test results to a new level - with real-world applications. This book is a practical guide to interpreting soil test results for farmers and other stewards of the earth wanting to understand what nutrients are available and learn how to more effectively grow crops, turf and other plants.
McKibben passes along clear, easy-to-understand, and approachable information about how to choose the most appropriate testing method based on your specific soil type enabling you to develop an effective action plan and get the most out of your soil.
Real-world practical advice on:
- When to rely on your soil test and when to only use this information as a starting point for further investigation.
- Whether it is better to use one or more soil testing methods to get the best picture of your soil’s health to devise a soil fertility plan.
- When to interpret soil test results using Albrecht-based versus Reams-style analysis.
- Whether the standard or paste soil testing method should be used to get the best results for soils ranging from sandy to clay (low or high cation exchange capacity).
Key to understanding soil test results is a logical step-by-step decision-making process that McKibben has refined during more than 30 years as a soil consultant.
The Art of Balancing Soil Nutrients helps you effectively analyze soil test results and formulate an effective action plan for your cropland, pasture, turf or garden. Includes numerous soil test result tables throughout.
When is the best time to do a soil sample?
The best time to sample soil is anytime that is not directly affected by a nutrient application and that is consistent from year to year. The weather will always be a factor, but understand that a soil sample is a snapshot in time and its real value comes after successive second and third samples perhaps a year or two into the future. These follow-up samples are important because they provide a trend line and with this you will have a real direction and can make a plan for balancing soils. That doesn’t mean adjustments can’t be made after the first sampling, but don’t overreact in making hasty nutrient corrections.
Where should I collect my samples in the field?
It is always nice to have yield maps to help see where sampling zones should be set up in a field, but this is not always possible. So, if no yield maps are available, start by sampling soil types. An even simpler strategy is to sample the high ground versus the low ground. Sampling these two types of areas generally will give you the broadest range of fertility issues possible.
Softcover, 236 pages
About The Author:
William “Crop Doc” McKibben is an Ohio-based consultant specializing in soil fertility balancing and managing crop yields, as well as livestock nutrition. He holds a masters degree in science from Ohio State University and has worked as an agronomist in the Midwest for more than 30 years, much of that time with Brookside Laboratories and Logan Labs. He has worked with many agricultural crops such as corn, beans, wheat, alfalfa, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and peppers. His consulting also includes beef and dairy nutrition, and he has had experience with turf and general landscaping projects for municipalities and golf courses. McKibben’s consulting practice revolves around achieving a more accurate analysis of soil, plants and water by combining the standard soil test with soil solubility analysis and tissue profiling. He has lectured throughout North America and Europe on the topic of soil fertility balancing.