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Don’t guess; soil tests save time, money
Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, said Manjula Nathan, director of the University of Missouri Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services.
Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements.
“We frequently get questions from customers like, ‘I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?’” Nathan said.
“Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements,” she said. “They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or underapplication, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment.”
Soil testing can be done through the extension office. Soil tests cost $15 per sample. Make sure your soil is dry when you bring it in. A soil probe and an auger can be checked out from the extension office.
Soil testing publications
Search for Missouri Century Farms continues
If your farm has been in your family since Dec. 31, 1911, you can apply to have it recognized as a Missouri Century Farm.
To qualify, farms must meet the following guidelines: The same family must have owned the farm for 100 consecutive years. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including those through marriage or adoption. The farm must be at least 40 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.
Applicants certified as owners of a 2011 Missouri Century Farm are recognized by the local MU Extension office in the county where the farm is located. Applicants are presented with a sign and a certificate.
For applications received by May 1, a $50 fee covers the cost of a certificate, farm sign and booklet for approved applicants. If the application is received between May 1 and May 16, the cost is $60. Applications must be postmarked by May 16 to be considered.
In addition to being recognized locally, there is a new opportunity for Missouri Century Farm owners. This year’s applicants and existing Century Farm owners can have their farms featured in a 35th-anniversary commemorative book honoring Missouri’s historic farms. It’s free to have your Century Farm featured in the book, which will include regional histories; a special feature on how agriculture has changed through the years, including technology, crops and equipment; and the 35-year history of the Missouri Century Farm program.
Missouri Century Farm