The health of your soil determines many aspects of your operation, so make sure it’s as healthy as can be.
Soils are of the utmost importance in agriculture. Any farmer or rancher knows that poor soils will deliver poor results; only balanced soil rich in organic matter will deliver a plentiful, high-quality harvest. However, sometimes soils are not as healthy as they could be. Since the success of Florida ranches depend so much on forages, it’s important to make your soils as healthy as possible. Soil amendments don’t have an impact overnight, so the recommendations from a UF/IFAS publication on testing and improving your soils is to plan months ahead. See additional tips from that publication for getting your soils healthy for the growing season below.
Tips for Increasing Soil Health
- Test your soil in the fall or early winter at least every three years.
- If you get your soils tested at the UF/IFAS Soils Lab, you’ll get fertilizer recommendations based on your forage crop and the soil test results as well.
- If not using the UF/IFAS Soils Lab, utilize at a lab that uses either Mehlich 1 or Mehlich 3 extraction methods to get the best results from UF/IFAS recommendations.
- Pay attention to the soil’s pH as well. When soils are at their optimal levels, plant nutrients are easier for the plant to take up through the roots.
- Plan to add lime if your soils are too acidic for your chosen forage; this is the most common situation for Florida soils.
- Lime takes three to six months to change the pH of your soil, so plan in advance.
- Liming without a soil test can result in decreasing the acidity of the soil too much or not enough; neither will result in optimal forage production.
- Applying fertilizer without a test can also result in over- or under-fertilization and a poor forage crop.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.