Do your customers’ crops contain the optimal nutrient levels necessary to produce top yields? Adding fertilizer after planting may allow maximum efficiency of the fertilizer that is applied. Plant tissue testing with SGS is a great way to diagnose a nutrient deficiency or toxicity problem in a field.

Tissue testing is typically performed in-season when a problem has been detected in a field, as a fertility assessment, but can also be used as a compliment to soil testing. By doing routine tissue sampling at the proper time throughout the growing season, you can verify that a fertility program is working, make adjustments for in-season fertilizer applications and detect problems before they are visually evident (such as hidden hunger syndrome).

Tissue testing can also help diagnosis problems caused by factors unrelated to soil nutrient deficiencies, such as pesticide use or injury, varietal or hybrid differences, or soil compaction. Often, sampling good and poor performing areas separately provide a good diagnostic comparison of nutrient concentrations.

SGS tissue packages include: nitrates; basic test (total N, P, and K); standard test (total N, P, K, S, and Zn); and advanced test (total N, P, K, S, Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Zn, Na, B).

Sample corn tissues for when the plant is less than 12 inches tall requires collecting all of the plant that is above ground. If the plant is taller than 12 inches, the recommendation is for collecting the first fully developed leaf from at least 12 plants.

For soybeans, the SGS recommendation is to collect the entire above-ground portion of the plant when collecting seedling tissue samples. Otherwise, collecting the youngest mature trifoliate leaves from the top of at least 20 plants prior to or during flowering is appropriate. Samples are sent in paper bags if shipped to an SGS laboratory in Belleville, Ill; Brookings, S.D.; or Toulon, Ill.