Due to a tight agricultural economy, many farmers have been using less fertilizer and lime. Because of the drought during the last several years, some have applied little or no fertilizer. You can't assume if you got away with using less fertilizer the last two or three years that you can continue to do so. At some point in time, the soil will become deficient in needed nutrients and yield reduction will occur.
Soil tests are the only way to determine whether or not you can cut back on fertilizer without hurting yields. Also, if you are planning on reducing the number of acres that you farm, soil tests will help you decide which fields to leave out. These same principles apply to pastures just as well as row crop land.
If possible, take soil samples at the same time each year so that results from year to year may be compared. Be sure to take soil samples early enough to get the results back in time to apply needed lime and fertilizer before planting. Unless the samples are wet, we can get the results back to you within two weeks. If soil samples are brought to the office wet, they must sit until they are dry before they can be mailed.
I'm not complaining about wet samples, I just want you to understand that the results may be delayed three to four days due to drying time.
Most fertilizer dealers are more than willing to work with you in choosing the fertilizer that meets your soil test. Any effort they make toward helping you get the most of your fertilizer dollars insures them of keeping you as a customer. Taking soil samples does require a little time and effort on your part but the benefits are well worth the effort.