Crop scouting class

ISU Extension agronomist Joel DeJong describes parts of a corn plant during a women’s crop scouting class June 8 in Sutherland, Iowa.

Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist Joel DeJong will host a program designed to help farmers better understand soil fertility and better manage nutrients.

“Soil Test Interpretation & Recommendations: Maximizing Return on Investment” will run 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Northwest Iowa Research Farm, 6320 500th Street, Sutherland.

“The cost of managing soil fertility is changing with the price of fertilizer and the increased demand for nutrients needed by the increasing yields we harvest,” DeJong said. “This workshop is an ideal educational opportunity for those just beginning to farm, as well as long-time producers. We can all benefit from brushing up on the basics of soil fertility to help us make the best decisions for our farming operation and our bottom line.”

Topics to be addressed include: crop nutrient removal calculations, soil sampling, reading and interpreting soil tests and recommendations; fertilizer calculations, secondary and micronutrients, soil pH and lime recommendations.

“If a producer grows 250 acres of 200-bushel corn and 250 acres of 50-bushel soybean, the grain harvested will remove over 12.5 tons of phosphate and almost 13 tons of potash,” DeJong said. “Managing that correctly is extremely valuable to any crop producer.”

The workshop will cover:

• How crops respond to different soil nutrient levels;

• How soil tests are done and what they mean;

• What research shows about crop response to different soil test levels;

• How to calculate the amount of phosphate and potash their own crop removes from the soil;

• The chances of getting a return on fertilizer investment when a person knows his/her soil test results; and

• When a person can or cannot alter fertilizer application rates to meet purchasing needs.

Due to the hands-on nature of the class, registration is limited to the first 30 registrants. To register for the program, call DeJong at 712-546-7835 or email The $40 registration fee includes participation in the course, copies of the presentation, publications and resources, and lunch.