Soil Management

What Does Your Basic Soil Test Mean?

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Robert Mullen

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Nutrien

Director of Agronomy

To say Dr. Robert Mullen is passionate about agriculture would be an understatement. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ag business from Cameron University, along with a Master of Science degree in plant and soil science and a Ph.D. in soil science from Oklahoma State University. In addition, Dr. Mullen has been published in a variety of scientific and trade journals. But it’s not just his academic accomplishments that make him unique. It’s his unwavering ability to take complex data and — in simple terms — explain how it impacts a farmer’s bottom line. Dr. Mullen delivers the kind of insightful observations that can lead to a more profitable business. As a leading agronomy expert, Dr. Mullen has a goal to further educate farmers on best management practices that improve their yields and maximize their return on investment.

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Agronomists and farmers have the daunting task of identifying crop yield limiting factors and eliminating them in an economic fashion. One of the best tools in the arsenal of said agronomists/farmers is soil testing. A soil test contains important information on key soil chemical and physical properties to help guide nutrient management decisions and other management practices.

We use well-studied methods of soil chemical analysis and nutrient extraction to provide some idea of how much nutrient is available, and how much additional nutrient may be required. The reality is that the lab report provided by a testing facility may not be the most easily understood report. The goal of this infographic is to familiarize you with how the numbers are determined, what they mean, and ultimately how you use them. We will focus on a few of the most common, or basic, elements of soil tests.

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