Collecting your Data to Make Better Decisions with ON-Farm Analysis

Michelle Hicks

With predictions of a several year cycle of lower com prices and tighter margins, our family wants to position ourselves with the ability to proactively lower costs by learning how to be our own Crop Consultants. Our hope is to develop a small accurate on farm soil testing lab. This would be in conjunction with developing our own crop scouting schedule to coordination reports with our local agricultural cooperative. We would like use different computer programs which would assist us in crop planning, fertilizer recommendations, storing and analyzing historical records, equipment calibration, and the creation of professional field scouting reports.

For the first year, we would like our on-farm results to be compared to professional soil testing labs to determine levels of Nitrate Nitrogen, Ammonia Nitrogen, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, pH, Humus, and Trace Minerals accurately. We plan to work with local University Soil and Plant Science Professors. If this endeavor is successful, our family hopes to develop classes to train other interested Corn growers to put more of the science and technology back into the hands of the American Farmer.