Agriculture: Caring For the Soil On Your Farm

If you make your living growing food crops, the health of the soil you are planting and growing the crop in can make all the difference to the yield and the quality of the harvest. Food crops which are planted in well-maintained soil which is high in nutrients will typically produce larger yields and higher quality produce. The higher quality of the crop and the increased volume of end product market will help to generate higher profits for your farm. Below is a guide which will help you to care for your soil.

Carry out a seasonal soil test

At the end of every harvest season, you should take a sample of soil from every field on your farm. These samples should then be clearly labelled and sent off to a specialist agricultural soil testing service. You should also provide details of the last crop grown using the soil and the crop you plan to grow in the coming season. These services will analysis the nutrient content of the soil. Once the soil has been tested, you will receive a report which details the current nutrient profile of the soil and any areas where it is deficient. Once you are armed with this information, you can take steps to prepare the soil for the crop you will be planting during the next season.

Slurry testing

Many farmers using animal waste to provide the required nutrients to the soil. While spraying slurry will typically not harm the condition of the soil, it may not be doing as much good as you believe it is. This is because the nutritional content of slurry can differ depending on the diet and health of the animals which have produced the waste. It is worthwhile asking a lab to analyse the nutritional profile of the waste and the types of organic compounds it contains. This will allow you to make sure that your crop is receiving everything it needs to grow successfully. 

Consider additives

If the slurry you have produced on your farm is lacking in certain minerals, phosphates or nitrates, you should seriously consider purchasing additives which contain these substances and adding them to the slurry mix before it is sprayed onto the field. Doing so will ensure your next crop is properly fed. If you would like to find out more about maintaining your soil, contact a company which specialises in nutritional profiling.