A soil fertility specialist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University is looking to recruit growers interested in helping researchers update the soybean, corn and wheat fertility recommendations for Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Steve Culman, an Ohio State University Extension soil fertility specialist, is seeking growers to participate in a project to look at nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in soybeans, corn and wheat as part of an overall effort to update the tri-state fertility recommendations. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

“The project involves casting a broad net to collect data from a large number of farms to determine the most economical and most effective fertilization rates for soybean, corn and wheat,” he said. “The current tri-state recommendations are over 20 years old and need to be updated to reflect the growing conditions now.

“Farming has changed substantially in the past 20 years, so we are trying to get the most accurate information we can to either revise or update the recommendations.”

Culman said he is hoping to work with 30 growers per crop for the duration of the research project, which will involve applying fertilizer to some replicated strip plots and leaving others without fertilizer. Farmers would get to choose which nutrient they’d like to work with and be allowed a large degree of flexibility in the plot layout and application rates, he said.

“We are ideally looking for farms that help capture a diversity of soil types and particularly those fields that test low in phosphorus and potassium,” Culman said.

In addition, participating farmers will be paid for their time and effort, he said. Crop consultants and co-op agronomists can also be paid for helping to facilitate the trials on their clients’ fields, Culman said.

The data that will be collected during the project includes:

  • Soil samples before planting.
  • Leaf tissue samples for nutrient analysis at early reproductive stage.
  • Grain yields and nutrient analysis of grain at harvest.

Participants will also be asked to complete a short questionnaire about soil management, he said.

“Now is a good time to think about your fields and their nutrient needs now that harvest season is ongoing and growers will then start fall fertilizer applications on their fields,” Culman said. “Another benefit to farmers is that they will have all the lab analyses done at no charge and be supplied with a report on what the results are and what that means for their specific farms.”

The tri-state fertilizer research project is funded through check-off dollars through the Ohio Soybean Council and the Ohio corn and small grains marketing programs, he said.

Growers interested in participating in the research project can contact Culman at 330-263-3787 or culman.2@osu.edu. More information can be found here.