The Use of Soil Nitrate Tests for Nitrogen Recommendations: A Consultant's Viewpoint
Soil tests that try to integrate the numerous soil, plant, environment, and management factors to provide an index to plant available nitrogen (N) in soils have been largely unsuccessful. Nitrate (NO3−) is the major mineralized form of N that can be measured accurately by soil tests. It is my opinion that we cannot make accurate N rate recommendations for crops or even evaluate how much of the soil NO3− will be available to plants during the growing season, based solely on the nitrate test. We must rely more on personal experience with N rates based on soil series cation exchange capacity (CEC) and on organic matter content in soils. However, the nitrate test can be used to evaluate N carryover and to improve limestone recommendations.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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