FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, SEPT. 23, 2008
J. Kent Messick, Field Services Section chief
NCDA&CS Agronomic Division
Following soil-test recommendations can save money
RALEIGH – With skyrocketing fertilizer prices eating into farmers’ bottom line, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler encourages growers to use free soil testing to avoid unnecessary fertilizer expenses.
“Prices are expected to be more than double what they were last fall, so this is not the time to risk buying and applying more fertilizer than you need,” Troxler said. “Growers should collect soil samples, and they should do it now. Soil reports will tell you the right amount of lime and fertilizer for optimum yield and environmental protection. The sooner farmers get their soil reports — which are available online — the sooner they’ll be able to make cost-effective decisions about fertilizer purchases for the spring.”
By acting now, growers may be able to save even further by purchasing fertilizer before the end of the year so they can claim a deduction on this year’s taxes, Troxler said. Growers should check with their dealers first to see if early delivery and storage is an option.
Currently, the soil lab at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is processing samples for free in five to seven business days. By November, the lab will be well into its busy season and could be receiving thousands of samples each day. Sample turn-around time usually increases steadily from fall through winter, Troxler said.
Soil sample boxes and sample information forms can be picked up from the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division office in Raleigh. Growers can also contact their NCDA&CS regional agronomist for these supplies or visit their county Cooperative Extension office. Growers who submit large numbers of soil samples at one time can request sturdy, 36-sample mailing containers from NCDA&CS.
For additional information about soil sampling or testing, contact your NCDA&CS regional agronomist, visit www.ncagr.gov/agronomi/ or call Kent Messick, NCDA&CS Field Services Section chief, at (919) 733-2655.