NEWS

OptiYield soil analysis – the starting point for winter crop resilience.

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Emerald Research, News, OptiYield, Technical Update

The OptiYield expert software system seamlessly integrates with your autumn establishment routine, providing extensive soil analysis information and delivering specific macro/micro nutrient recommendations at each growth stage from establishment and throughout the growing season.

As autumn planting gets underway, the importance of establishing strong, healthy crops comes in to focus, with many articles detailing the three key elements: soil sampling, soil preparation and germination rates, which all impact rooting, vigour and plant health to ensure crops don’t just survive the winter but thrive.

Standard Soil Analysis limitations

Contrary to popular belief, not all soil analysis tests are created equal – at OptiYield, we believe that the standard tests only provide the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms useable information.  The results that the standard soil analysis provides are limited because they are:

  • Simplistic – based on simple soil sample nutrient extractant levels
  • Poor to very poor correlation of extractant readings to real-world plant uptake for most nutrients
  • Not accounting for root growth and crop vigour in exploring the soil (crop specific)
  • Not considering:
    • nutrient “lock up” or immobilisation
    • influence of other soil components – e.g. clay, organic matter, pH, conductivity nutrient interactions & antagonisms
    • equilibrium/exchange dynamics

Alternatives to the Standard Soil Analysis

Over the last ten years, the OptiYield team has developed and refined a range of soil analysis tests that offer an extension to the SSA and provide more accurate information relating to the soil’s ability to provide the necessary nutrient conditions for optimum crop establishment, growth and yield.

The analysis methods provide the following information along with the SSA:

  • A breakdown of soil characteristics – Soil texture and fitness and cation antagonism, pH, base saturation and organic matter %
  • An analytical and calculated measure of phosphate availability
  • An available phosphate measurement
  • Cation availability
  • Micronutrient availability

OptiYield has developed this testing regime in conjunction with a leading UK laboratory and the tests are undertaken as part of the OptiYield package.

Reading your OptiYield soil analysis results and recommendations

It is very important to combine the soil analysis results with crop quality information relating to the field. This includes agronomic and desired characterises that further affect crop nutrition and biostimulant recommendations, such as crop, variety, end market, desired tonnage and quality requirements that need to be met such as:-

  • Potatoes – skin finish, tuber numbers
  • Milling Wheat – Hagberg falling number
  • Malting Barley – protein levels

A full, easy-to-read and implement recommendation table is produced by growth stage which covers:

PREP

  • Base fertiliser recommendations for phosphate, potash, magnesium, calcium and sulphur

ALT PREP

  • Alternative base fertiliser recommendations adjusted by OptiYield, especially phosphate. This adjustment is critical in making sure that both the use of phosphate and crop yield are optimised

NITROGEN

  • Full Nitrogen programme with calculated SNS including nutrients in manures/digestates giving exact amounts and timings specific to the crop and quality aspects (e.g. Winter Milling Wheat with target yield of 11 t/ha) and 1500 litres digestate per hectare).

Foliar Nutrients

  • When OptiYield indicates potential nutrient antagonism or ‘lock up’ in the soil, then supplementary foliar nutrients are recommended at the optimum rate and growth stage

Foliar Applications

  • Based on the extended soil analysis and interpretation, balanced with the growth needs of the crop at each growth stage, the OptiYield system produces a set of foliar recommendations for mixtures of nutrients and biostimulants

These recommendations are derived from the results of our many years of trials, which have demonstrated time after time the synergy of using foliar nutrients and biostimulants together. All recommendations are timed at key growth stages and where possible coincide with other spraying operations such as applications of fungicides, allowing all products to be mixed and sprayed in a single operation.

For more information or to have your soil analysis through the OptiYield analysis: Call 01242 506206