Note to readers, attached is a complete final report for FNE00-313.
From these results in this research project, we feel it is important to recognize that a soil test provides a snap shot of soil conditions at a particular date which may indeed not reflect soil conditions at other times throughout the growing season. Soil fertility levels appear to be quite dynamic, and this should be taken into account, particularly before applying large amounts of amendments based on the results from just one test. The yields on all these fields were extremely high in 1999 and good in 2000 with very low applications of fertility amendments. Had we followed standard soil text interpretations, based on soil texts taken on most of the dates, we would have detrimentally over-applied fertilizers well beyond what was needed for optimum crop growth.
These results of this project will not only benefit organic farmers. By understanding the natural fluctuations of nutrients, any farmer would be able to use soil text information to precisely more optimize plant response while minimizing the possibility of applying excessive amounts of fertilizer which would be expensive and might harm the environment.