A goal of sound nutrient management is to maximize the proportion of applied nutrients that is used by the crop (nutrient use efficiency). Soil sampling is a best management practice (BMP) for fertilizer management that will help improve nutrient use efficiency and protect the environment. Soil sampling is also one of the most important steps in a sound crop fertilization program.
A good soil testing program can be divided into four operations: (1) taking the sample, (2) analyzing the sample, (3) interpreting the sample analysis, and (4) making the fertilizer recommendations. Once you take a sample, you must send it to a laboratory for analysis. WSU maintains a database of labs, inclusion of a laboratory or consultant in this list does not imply any endorsement by WSU.
The Ferry County Extension office can provide a soil test probe for free checkout and informational brochures. The soil test labs generally charge $17 – $90 depending upon the test requested. After you receive your analysis, visit the WSU experts website for help interpreting the analysis and specific fertilizer recommendations. They have videos and publications with helpful advice including:
- How to collect soil samples
- Determining Soil Properties
- Soil Testing Laboratories
- Interpreting Soil Test Results
- General Soil Information
The WSU-WISE (Water Irrigation Systems Efficiency) program in Ferry County seeks to educate Washington State farmers about cost-effective equipment and practices that increase irrigation efficiency. Developed by Washington State University, the Irrigation Scheduler Mobile is an electronic irrigation assistance program that facilitates optimum irrigation practices. Farmers enter the crop and soil type and key into the nearest 2 of the nearly 175 weather stations. Based on present and historical weather data, the program algorithm alerts farmers to the irrigation needs of that particular crop in that particular site, reducing overwatering.
WSU-WISE assists farmers by:
- Conducting tutorials in the enrollment and use of Irrigation Scheduler Mobile
- Delivering interactive on-farm workshops showcasing the benefits of Irrigation Scheduler Mobile on irrigation efficiency and crop health
- Helping in selecting efficient irrigation solutions
- Conduct on-farm irrigation efficiency audits and provide a report of current irrigation water loss with tailored recommendations for increasing irrigation efficiencies
- Provide technical support for farmers seeking to offset the cost of irrigation efficiency upgrades through EQIP grants
Through WSU-WISE, training from the soil and irrigation experts at the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) brings expert resources locally. If you would like a free soil and irrigation assessment, call the Extension Office at 775-5225 x1116.