georgia cotton commission

GCC, UGA Extension Remind Growers About the Importance of Soil Sampling

Clint Thompson Georgia Cotton Commission, Soil

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Surface soil is sampled in a field in Virginia while in winter cover crop, but that will be planted to corn in the spring.
Photo by Alan Franzluebbers, USDA/ARS

By Clint Thompson

The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) and University of Georgia Extension remind growers about the importance of soil sampling this time of year. With fertilizer prices skyrocketing in recent months, producers need to have a plan about what nutrients are needed in their soils, says Glen Harris, University of Georgia (UGA) Professor and Extension Agronomist in Environmental Soil and Fertilizer.

“We need to be soil sampling every year. Things change too much. You need to be soil sampling,” Harris said. “As soon as you get your results back, take care of any pH problems. Having a good pH will help you utilize any fertilizers. Then start getting a plan for what you’re going to put for your at-planting fertilizers. They just need to be thinking ahead.”

High Fertilizer Prices

Planning ahead is especially important this year considering the rise in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Nitrogen prices are 95 cents per pound, compared to 50 cents in 2020. Phosphorous costs are 67 cents per pound, compared to 40 cents in 2020. Potassium expenses are 68 cents per pound, compared to 34 cents in 2020.

georgia cotton commission

Harris emphasizes that growers talk with their fertilizer dealer to ensure that availability is not going to be an issue, either.

“I would say talk to your fertilizer dealer and ask them when’s a good time to book fertilizer. You’ve got to remember, the fertilizer dealer doesn’t want to pay for a lot of high dollar fertilizer and price goes down and they get stuck with it either,” Harris said. “You need to be talking with your fertilizer dealer right now. Hopefully, you’re soil testing and getting your reports back and start getting a plan for what you’re going to plant. Things like corn and cotton are going to need more than peanuts.”