Washington State University Regional Agronomist Paul Carter said he’s seeing pH levels in soil reaching concerning levels and damaging crops.
Acidic soil can impact both yield and quality Carter said because, “Nutrients are not available readily, soil conditions are toxic to plant roots and then you also have herbicides or crop protection products that don’t perform properly because the pH is not in the range of what the manufacturer says it should be.”
Carter said that the main cause is the heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers while the only real solution is to apply lime to fields.
Most farmers have agronomists that consistently partner with local labs to test their soil, but Carter noted there are also some do it yourself options in the form of soil meters.
“This is a real handy tool that producers could use to get a quick read out in the field without sending a soil test in.”
Carter has written a guide to start producers on using soil meters.
If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (590) 547-1618, or e-mail email@example.com.