University of Maryland Extension

Nutrient Management Testing Available for Fall

Patricia Hoopes, Harford County Nutrient Management Advisor

The Extension Offices are available to conduct several fall tests to assist with your nutrient management planning needs. If you are interested in having one or more of these tests conducted, call your Nutient Manaement advisor (for Harford County, call Tricia Hoopes at 410-638-3255). Fact Sheets about each of these tests are also available at the Extension Office and on the Agricultural Nutrient Management Program website.

  • Fall Soil Nitrate Test: This test will determine the concentration of nitrate in the soil to evaluate whether a fall nitrogen application is needed at the time of planting wheat or barley. This test must be completed prior to applying nutrients to a fall planting of wheat or barley. Soil samples are needed to test for nitrate levels. Testing can be done by a lab or by the Nutrient Management Advisor.
  • Corn Silage Yield Test: This test will determine a silage yield estimate in tons/acre. This test should be done in late August or September just prior to harvest. The moisture should be between 65-70%. Corn should be in full dent and the stalks should still be green. Test area includes 5 randomly selected areas of a field. Row spacing, weight of stalks, number of stalks sampled and number of stalks in a given area are used to calculate a yield estimate.
  • Corn Grain Yield Test: This test will determine a corn grain yield estimate in bushels/acre. The corn grain yield should be estimated as close to harvest time as possible. Test area includes 5 randomly selected areas. Row spacing, corn ear sample collecting, grain percent moisture, and grain weight are used to calculate a yield estimate.
  • Corn Stalk Nitrate Test: This is an end-of-season test to determine the nitrogen levels in the corn stalk. The goal is to evaluate the nitrogen application rate. This test is good for manure and/or fertilizer applications. The test results are most helpful when results are collected over several years and compared. For corn silage, samples should be collected just before harvest. For corn grain, samples should be collected one to three weeks after 80% of the kernels on most ears are at black layer, typically late August to late October. Corn stalk samples are collected, and a lab evaluation is needed to determine nitrogen levels.
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