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How our soil sampling program can benefit your farm

The Data that Continuum Ag uses while out in the fields.

What value does Continuum Ag’s RightWay® soil sampling program deliver to farmers?

We get that question a lot, and we get it. You want to know that what you pay for is going to provide value to your operation. What’s different about our program is that we provide insight on your farm that other tests won’t. Here’s a brief rundown of how we can help to drive profitability on your farm.

Our RightWay® soil sampling program is done on 10 acre zones based off of slope, soil type, elevation, and crop productivity ratings. We can also factor in yield, and any other data layers that you would like to incorporate into your zones. We then take a representative sample of that zone, and we send samples to the lab to be analyzed with the Haney Soil Health test.

Here’s an example of a zone map created in TopSoil®.

Dr. Rick Haney has developed a soil test unlike any other in agriculture. Since the 1960s, soil tests haven’t hardly changed at all. This old method uses chemicals that soil and crops never see to evaluate levels of nutrients in the soil. How can we accurately assess what our soil needs if we extract nutrients out of the soil with chemistry that the soil and crops never see? Dr. Haney developed this brilliant, yet simple, idea; to extract nutrients out of the soil utilizing only water and an extractant that mimics plant roots. This, in turn, gives a much more accurate reading of what nutrients are truly in the soil and that the plants can actually use.

Dr. Haney’s test also provides an in-depth look at the biological side of the soil, something that traditional tests don’t do. Traditional tests show organic matter, which, as Haney puts it, is the “house of the soil microbes, not the food.” Haney’s test measures the house, the food, the activity, and the balance between those components, and we can analyze that data to see how healthy your soil is. We then utilize the data to provide cover crop recommendations to provide balance in your soils.

Taking into account the biology of the soil is a major part of soil health and fertility that regular soil tests are missing. If we only take into account the chemical part of the soil, we ignore the plant-available nutrients that microbes continually provide to our soils. If microbes have a good home filled with good food, they will be actively eat that food, and what comes out the other end? Valuable nutrients to your crops! All of this is measured in the Haney tests.

So what? What does all of this mean for you, the farmer?

Our formulas take into account the soil biological components that Haney’s test measures, providing a broader, more holistic view of the soil. It sees what the biology can provide to your crops, therefore providing recommendations for what your soil actually needs for fertilizer, while still maintaining or increasing yields.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Haney:  “I talk to colleagues that say, ‘We grow 300 bushel corn with a high rate of fertilizer’, and I say, ‘what did the control make?’, [they say] ‘220 bushel.’ How’d they raise 220 bushel corn with no fertilizer? How is that not the story?”

We are missing a crucial part of our soil health. The chemical side of soil is important, don’t hear me wrong on that. But the biological side should be the component that we talk about the most. Our soil is living. There are more organisms in a tablespoon of healthy soil than humans on the earth. Just think about that for a minute! How are we completely ignoring that in our traditional soil tests?

What we do at Continuum Ag is provide accurate chemical, biological, and physical metrics of your soil. From that data, we can help you make decisions for all three of these characteristics of soil to be more profitable and more resilient. Our RightWay® soil sampling program costs $9.85/acre, but how much is that saving you in fertilizer? Below is an example of a farmer who started using us, and saved a huge amount on nitrogen, while maintaining yield:

We truly believe that we have something extremely valuable for farmers. I’d love to chat more about it with you, feel free to call, email, or text me at any time.

Tucker Gibbons
Sales Agronomist // Continuum Ag
(517) 204-7264

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