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This fall and winter I’ve had the pleasure of viewing hundreds of soil tests across Eastern Manitoba and one fairly common trend seen by myself and my dealers was slightly higher than expected residual soil nitrate levels especially on fields grown to wheat, a major crop in the region. We were fortunate enough to harvest a fairly high yielding wheat crop with higher than average protein as well so it was a bit of a surprise when this is what we observed. This observation though lines up with what a large soil test company I deal with found as well. On over 25,000 wheat fields they tested this fall, the average soil nitrate was 40 lbs/acre. Compared to the last 30 years, that number isn’t that high but compared to the last few years, it stands out a bit. Some factors that they and I believe lead to this include:
All of these factors add up and caused there to be a little bit more residual soil nitrate than usual and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Again though this is just a general trend and every field and situation is different. We encourage growers to still soil test every field, every year as this is truly the only way to know how much nitrogen you have left as well as all the other essential soil nutrition information you get from the soil test as well. Without this knowledge, you truly are just playing guesswork in terms of fertilization and soil nutrition and starting the year off behind.
Remember the key to a great crop starts with knowing what is in your soil!
DSM, Eastern Manitoba