Learning the Science of Interpreting Soil and Manure Tests

August workshops on nutrient testing and manure application may help improve farmers income


AMES, Iowa – Summer is the best time to apply livestock manure for crop fertilization, but getting the right level is a science. To aid farmers in nutrient management, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy specialists are offering a workshop to fine-tune manure applications with soil management practices and testing.

“We will take a step-by-step approach on how to read a soil test and determine fertilizer needs,” said Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Instructions will be offered for reading a manure test and determining how much of the crop nutrient needs can be met with manure applications. This knowledge will optimize on-farm resources, and likely reduce commercial fertilizer costs while increasing producer income.”

The 2-hour workshop is from 10 a.m. to noon, with the first hour training on manure management ‘how-to’ with examples and a step-by-step guide. The second hour will be question and answer time with Extension specialists. Leading the sessions are Brian Lang and Joel DeJong, both field agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach. Participants may bring along recent soil and manure tests from their farm operations for interpretation.

There are nine workshop dates and locations available in August:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 12 – Winneshiek County ISU Extension office, Decorah, 563-382-2949
  • Thursday, Aug. 13 – Fayette County ISU Extension office, Fayette, 563-425-3331
  • Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Allamakee County ISU Extension office, Waukon, 563-568-6345
  • Wednesday, Aug. 19 - Sac County ISU Extension office, Sac City, 712-737-4230
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 – Howard County ISU Extension office, Cresco, 563-547-3001
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 – Sioux County at Northwest Iowa Community College, Campus Building A, Room 119, Sheldon, 712-737-4230
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 – Delaware County ISU Extension office, Manchester, 563-927-4201
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26 – Dubuque County ISU Extension office, Dubuque, 563-583-6496
  • Thursday, Aug. 27 – Clayton County ISU Extension office, Elkader, 563-245-1451

The program is free, but seating is limited so please call ahead to make your reservation. For more information or to make reservations, contact the local county extension office or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices.

This informational meeting is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and North Central Risk Management Education Center.