Thompsons Soil Sampling photo - people

Understanding in-field variability: soil sampling

Written by Alex Richardson, Agricultural Consultant, Thompsons – Blenheim.

Wheat harvest is complete and yields have given us great insight about our fields once again.

Variability was evident, and the results remind us it’s time to soil sample.

Soil sampling after wheat harvest is a great option to allow for the right conditions, and the time to do the sampling properly. It gives us the ability to plan using these results–not only for the remaining growing year, but for next year as well.

Results gathered now can be reviewed and used to apply some fall fertilizer or make spring plans for fertility management. Knowing what nutrients are already in the field is the best way to start that process.

Thompsons offers 3 main soil sampling packages, with options to suit any grower and any field.

Intensive Zone Sampling
Using data from numerous sources, grower expertise, and your local Thompsons Agricultural consultant, management zones will be mapped and generated throughout the field.  Soil samples will be taken across these zones to best represent the field following the topography, yield, or problem areas depicted in the zones.

Site-specific Sampling
Choose from a 1 acre, 2.5 acre or 5 acre sample area.  Your field will be overlaid with a grid, followed by samples taken in each grid from an area that best represents the lay of the land within that grid space.

Precision-Lite Sampling
Generate larger zones across the field to sample. Zones range from 10 acres to 25 acres in size, again based on numerous sources and grower expertise.  Monitor and map the variability in your field!

Talk to your local Thompsons Agricultural Consultant today about any of these sampling packages and customized options. We can build a soil sampling plan to suit your individual farm and management situation.

We all know our fields are variable and need to continue managing the variability on our farms!

All soil sampling options include a complete mapbook of your field and soil analysis, with lab results attached.

Once the results have come from the lab, the value of soil sampling begins as fertility management progresses. With the help of your local Thompsons Agricultural Consultant, your field’s fertility can be reviewed and a plan put in place to build and maintain your soil health.

Wheat leaf diseases

What increases the risk of infection?

  • Cool temperatures
  • Prolonged periods of wet weather
  • Rust problems in the southern US states and Mexico could mean the same for Ontario as storm systems carry the spores north
  • Planting susceptible varieties.Planting after another cereal or corn crop.

Wheat leaf diseases, percentage

How do I know when to apply a fungicide?

Read more

Gibberella Ear Rot

Gibberella Ear Rot in corn

What is it?

Gibberella Ear Rot, or Red Ear Rot, is caused by the fungus, Gibberella zeae (Fusarium graminearum). This disease can occur throughout the U.S. Mid-West and Southern Ontario. The pathogen overwinters on corn, wheat and barley debris. Spores produced on the debris lead to infection during silking. Red Ear Rot is more prevalent when cool, wet weather occurs during the first 21 days after silking. Extended periods of rain in the fall, which delay dry down, increase the severity of the disease. Red Ear Rot will be most severe in fields where corn follows corn, or corn follows wheat that was affected by Fusarium head blight (scab), which is caused by the same pathogen. Read more

Managing Fusarium Head Blight at harvest

Fursarium Spores WheatThe less infected kernels that go into storage the better, and the greater of a chance a grower will have for not getting docked to a lower grade of wheat.

Combine tips and notes

  • Higher fan speeds are needed to blow infected kernels out the back. Ridgetown College has done studies on fan speeds, and there is a tenfold decrease in the amount of Fusarium damaged kernels in a sample when the fan speed is at maximum blast. But with that comes challenges of losing good healthy kernels.
  • Research from Ohio State showed combine fan speeds between 1375 and 1475 RPM and the shutter opening at 3.5 inches received the lowest discounts at elevators from FHB damaged wheat kernels and DON levels in the harvested grain.
  • Reduce combine speed. Having the combine traveling at a slower speed, will allow better separation between the good and bad kernels.
  • In fields which are severely affected by leaf diseases, the lower test weight of the grain may make it more difficult to separate normal kernels from Fusarium damaged kernels.

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Fusarium Head Blight

Fusarium head blight

What is it? Fusarium Head Blight is a fungal disease that affects the head of small grain crops. Also referred to as Scab, it can affect wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, and triticale. Wheat and barley are generally the most affected. It is mainly caused by the species Fusarium graminearum, and can cause loss of […]

Wheat leaf diseases

What increases the risk of infection?

  • Cool temperatures.
  • Prolonged periods of wet weather.
  • Rust problems in the southern US states and Mexico could mean the same for Ontario as storm systems carry the spores north.
  • Planting susceptible varieties.Planting after another cereal or corn crop.
Percentage of wheat plant affected photo

How do I know when to apply a fungicide?

The higher the price of wheat, the more economical treatment is. In general, if trace amounts of rust, powdery mildew, or leaf spot are Read more

Assessing winter survival in wheat

By Holly Loucas, Agronomist, DOW Agrosciences

Factors affecting winter survival in wheat

The ability of winter wheat plants to survive winter often depends on each plant’s ability to tolerate low temperatures. Winter wheat plants go through a process called ‘cold acclimation’ in the fall during which each plant acquires the ability to withstand the cold temperatures experienced during the winter. This process is affected by planting date, fertility, seeding depth, and most importantly, the weather. Read more

Potassium deficiency in corn source:

Potassium is a key ingredient to producing quality crops

Potassium (K) levels have been declining in Ontario fields. Many fields that have been sampled have noticed a drop in their soil sample potassium levels from a few years ago. Simply said, growers are not applying enough fertilizer. In some cases fertilization is less than what the crop will remove causing a decrease in soil nutrient reserves. Potassium is one of the three nutrients needed in large quantities by plants. This essential nutrient could be a limiting factor in your crop yields if your soil is not maintained at adequate levels.

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Wheat field

Late Planted Winter Wheat

During years when soybeans are harvested later than expected or environmental conditions delay field work, winter wheat is generally skipped in the rotation or planting is rushed. When planting winter wheat later than the recommended planting dates, even more care should be taken to ensure yield potential is not lost.

Planting date

In general, delaying planting past the recommended planting window can cost a producer from 0.6 to 1.1 bu/day. It is best to strive to plant around these dates (See figure 1).

planting dates map

Figure 1: Optimum Planting Dates in Ontario.

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