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Tissue Sampling (Don't Starve Your Crop)

7/10/2018

In Eastern Arkansas we are just scratching the surface of where our yields could go. Tissue sampling is shedding a bright light on underlying deficiencies that would otherwise go unnoticed. Just as with people, a plant needs the proper nutrients to be the healthiest it can be and produce the highest yields possible. Tissue sampling between growth stages can provide an insight into what’s going on in the plant.  


Why Tissue Sample?

Whether you are on a grid program every 3 years with variable rate application and the works or you go out and do composite samples in the Fall, we all know that soil sampling is the primary way to get a handle on the fertility situation on your farm. In order to get the most for your money, integrating a tissue sampling program is highly beneficial. When taking these samples and comparing them to your soil samples, you can see if you have a deficiency, another nutrient tying up your key elements or whether you could potentially have had leaching of some of your key elements. Catching these situations early allows you to make the necessary adjustments to your fertility program and put as little stress on the plant as possible.  


Timing

Whether spraying herbicides, fungicides, pre emerges, etc… Timing is everything!  This is no different with tissue samples. In Eastern Arkansas, we take cotton tissue samples between growth stages to make sure the plant is getting what it needs at each critical stage. When the cotton is in its first stages, we want to make sure that it has plenty of nitrogen. When we start to get to boll fill, we want to ensure the plant has enough potash to make it to harvest.  Whether that means putting a foliar feed in with our pix applications or just monitoring it to make sure it maintains adequate levels - timing is still key.  


The Results

A number of deficiencies can look alike. Tissue sampling will allow you to see where your problems lie and feed the plant accordingly. This way you are not putting out unneeded applications of unneeded nutrients all while feeding the plant what it needs, keeping it healthy and maximizing yield potential. Putting the right seed at the right population on the right soil type is a great start, but when you get yield maps and match them with your soil tests and variable rate fertilizer applications, you can find your problems and take the necessary steps to fix them. Match all of that with in season tissue sampling, and THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! 


Hope y’all have a great rest of 2018! 
Lee Machen
Hughes, Arkansas

 



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