Beyond The Basics

5-part series on the 4R systems approach to soil tests, fertility, and nutrient management.

This series is designed to be the same content each year. Unlike our Corn College events that have new content each year, this is a foundational class that remains the same from year to year. It was created to be a tool to help teach foundational aspects of agronomy to new growers or new additions to a farming operation, a resource for landowners, farm managers, and landlords who want to understand what the soil test can tell them, and a resource for veteran growers that want to brush up on a particular topic.

This 5-part series strives to explain:

  • How to read your soil tests and what the values on the paper mean for the crop growing in your field.
  • Explain how we go about making fertilizer recommendations and the school of thought it is based on.
  • What the role of some of the main nutrients are in the plant, and what happens if you have too much or not enough of it in solution.
  • What a comprehensive nitrogen plan looks like.

The videos will be on a metered release from 11/28 through 12/12 and the material will stay up and viewable until the end of December. You can submit your questions via the webpage or email them in as you view the material, and we will do a Q and A session at the end with questions we have received.

Get Your Tickets:

The Foundation of a Good Soil Test

  • Major schools of thought for how to pull samples and write recommendations
  • What method Crop-Tech uses and why
  • What the soil test can tell you
  • Why we build zones in a field, and how that plays into a systems approach
  • Using layers of data to build your zones (aerial, LiDAR, yield maps, soil lines)
  • The importance of knowing before making a recommendation:
    • How the sample was pulled
    • When the sample was pulled
    • What lab ran the test, and what extraction method was used
    • What units are the results reported in

Reading Between the Lines on Your Soil Test

  • How to read the values reported and how to interpret them to make the best management decisions regarding:
    • Organic Matter
    • Cation Exchange Capacity
    • P1 and P2
    • Base Saturation
    • pH

A Deep Dive into Phosphorus

  • Availability in the soil, and the plant uptake process
  • What role it plays in the plant
  • Phosphorous tie-up and what that changes in terms of management
  • All things starter fertilizer

Drilling Down on Calcium and pH

  • Availability in the soil, and the plant uptake process
  • What role it plays in the plant
  • How to use the pH values on a soil test to decide when, how much, and what type of lime to apply
  • What can cause false or varying pH results

Sifting out Lime Surprises

  • How to evaluate a lime source
  • Vocabulary for understanding acronyms on a lime sample
  • How lime quality standards differ between states
  • Why a good spread pattern matters and overcoming obstacles to achieve it

The ABCs of Potassium

  • Availability in the soil and what affects it
  • Plant uptake process and what impedes it
  • What role it plays in the plant
  • What causes a K+ deficiency, how to identify it, and what it does to the plant
  • Effects of an abundance of K+ creating imbalances in the soil

All Things Nitrogen

  • Different sources: Ammonium Nitrogen (NH4+), Nitrite (NO2-), Nitrate (NO3-)
  • The conversion process between the different forms, and factors that influence it
  • What source the soil microbes like best, and what the plants use most efficiently
  • How and when to protect against volatilization and leaching
  • Nitrogen Extenders
  • Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT) and how we use it to variable rate Nitrogen
  • VRT Nitrogen and it’s affect on soil health and organic matter

Understanding the Soil Ecosystem

  • Examining soil microbes’ role in growing a crop
    • Heterotrophs vs Autotrophs
    • Bacteria and fungi, small particles with big roles
    • Stages of organic matter
    • The carbon cycle and the importance of the carbon to nitrogen ratio
    • Nutrient cycling-what is involved and when do you see returns

Event Details


November 28 -December 12


(CTC Customers)

(Non-CTC Customers)




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