Nitrogen Element in Soil Testing
At AgriTech, we are often asked why we don’t test for nitrogen in our SoilKit™ testing program. It is obvious to even the lay agronomist that nitrogen is the first and heaviest element in a fertilizer analysis, and it’s probably the most important. Its value should be a major concern when testing soil. Phosphorus and potassium are the two remaining major elements in the fertilizer NPK analysis and are tested by SoilKit™ along with pH and the minor elements of iron, manganese, copper, zinc and boron.
As the accomplished agronomist knows, nitrogen is very important to soil and plant health, but the element is very unstable, resulting in a volatile range of test values over a short period of time. Rainfall, irrigation, nutritive leakage, runoff and plant uptake contribute to the variances in nitrogen’s weight in the soil.
Test results can change significantly from the time a soil sample is taken until it gets to the lab for testing. For this reason, agronomists have little confidence in the test value of nitrogen. At AgriTech, our SoilKit™ treatment recommendations for nitrogen are based on grass or plant variety, region, and time of year, while recommendations for pH, macronutrients and micronutrients are driven by the soil test results. Nitrogen is the food that plants thrive on. The macro and micronutrients are the soil vitamins and minerals plants need for balanced nutrition, disease immunity, cell development, and root structure for efficient moisture and nitrogen uptake.
SoilKit™ test results are environmentally friendly in that they recommend the right nutrient treatment application, at the right time, and for the right plant. Our professional test results and exact recommendations prevent the over-application of nitrogen and phosphorus that can run off into our streams and estuaries, causing damage to marine and plant life. This unnecessary run-off can sometimes foster the development red tide organisms that are wreaking havoc in our fragile bays and oceans.