Tissue Sample for NPK Efficiency

Mar 14, 2022

Many producers understand the importance of feeding a crop to achieve full yield potential throughout a field and have applied adequate amounts of fertilizer to maximize yield potential, but a few have decided to apply rates lower than soil test recommends and may have jeopardized their full potential. For these situations or just peace of mind, we have one valuable tool to be used in season to verify that the decisions made before planting are going to give desired results, an early in season tissue sample. This is best taken at around the V-5 growth stage. With a tissue sample we can obtain information about a plant’s available nutrients. The test gives valuable results for many nutrients both micro and macro that have been taken up at the point in a plant’s life cycle that they are taken. If we have a nutrient that is deficient, we still have a potential window to correct a plant’s fertility to rescue that crop. Underapplying P/K is not a practice that I highly recommend, as applying P/K upfront will avoid any potential yield loss incurred as seedlings are developing and require large amounts of nutrients to become established but will give us an opportunity to apply needed nutrients to rescue a crop and further yield losses to occur. Tissue sampling is an excellent way to help determine how much side dress N is needed to optimize yield potential without overapplying nitrogen. Tissue samples also give us a good understanding of micronutrients in our plants, giving us results for Sulfur, Boron, Zinc, Magnesium, and Calcium, alongside N-P-K. I know that it is a little early to think about sampling crops in season, but it is never too early to put a plan together to have your fields tissue sampled, giving you the opportunity to maximize your yield potential. Talk to your local SFG agronomist about tissue sampling to prepare to maximize your yields for 2022.