The BigYield Spotlight – Soil and Tissue Sampling

Landon Teal discusses soil and plant tissue sampling as strategies for nutrient management.

Listen to the team and Kyle Hill, Ag 1280 Farm Director, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Ag 1280 KDKD-AM. The segments air at 7:15 am and again at 12:15 pm.

This segment originally aired on August 7, 2017.

Audio Transcript

Kyle: Time once again for a BigYield Spotlight. I’m Kyle Hill, visiting with Landon Teal, an agronomist with Good to have you back here in the studio.

Landon: Thank you Kyle.

Kyle: Today we’re going to be talking about soil sampling. What ways of soil sampling do growers use and what ways do you see most beneficial to growers?

Landon: Well soil sampling in my opinion is one of the most overlooked things in field management. A lot of times growers don’t want to get the fields tested or they are fine with what they are hoping to have for their potential yield. To answer your question, a lot of people just blanket fertilizer on. By that I mean they just use whatever they have used in the past or use what their last soil test told them to use. But personally, I like to see grid sampling done. Grid sampling is breaking a field down into grids to help with nutrient management, and it also decreases nutrient loss. You are applying a specific rate of nutrient to a certain area of your field depending on soil type. Grid sampling is really easy, and you can vary on whatever size grid the grower wants. A lot of times we will use 2.5 acre or 5 acre grids. This really helps get the right amount of fertilizer to a specific spot in a field.

Kyle: It sounds like soil sampling is very important.

Landon: Yes, absolutely. I am a huge advocate for it. When people come to me and ask what is going on in their field and why they are having problems, we can usually look at the disease, look at the insect pressure, but a lot of times I go right back to soil fertility. It’s really an important factor.

Kyle: What are the best times to conduct soil tests? Is there a specific time or can this be done pretty much any point?

Landon: We can do just about any time of the year. A lot of guys want to do their whole field in the fall or the spring. There are also times during the season that we do these soil tests. We can physically do a soil test in the field. We will go between the rows and hit certain areas of the field. We can also do plant tissue tests, and this also helps seeing exactly what the plant has.

Kyle: How exactly does plant tissue sampling work?

Landon: Plant tissue sampling is exactly how it sounds. I’ll go out to the field and select the area I want to go to, then I’ll clip the leaves directly from the plant. Then I’ll place them in a bag and ship them off to the lab. This is huge because you see exactly what levels are in the plant. You see the levels that the plant is using and the levels left that the plant will use. Soil tests can get close to telling you this information, but a tissue test is very accurate. Then from there you can see the health of your plant and what nutrients it needs or will need.

Kyle: Can you do plant tissue sampling on both corn and soybeans?

Landon: Yeah absolutely. This can be conducted for both and a lot of guys that are going for higher yielding crops will take many tissue tests during the season. One of those reasons is to just see how their crop is doing. Another is to determine which fields they want to continue applying yield-enhancement products on.

Kyle: If anyone has questions about soil sampling, plant tissue sampling, or any of the products that you have available out there on the farm with BigYield, how can they get ahold of you?

Landon: They can contact us online at, give us a call at 816-773-6096, or stop by the research farm in Garden City.

Kyle: Landon, good to visit with you again. Again we’re talking about soil sampling and plant tissue sampling. It’s good to get your perspective on that.

Landon: Thanks Kyle.

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