Corn School: Testing Nitrogen With 'Tailgate Technology'

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Fine-tuning nitrogen rates promises to get easier with the arrival of ‘tailgate technology’ that allows growers to test for nitrates on the tailgate of their truck.

That means no more couriering soil samples to the lab, or waiting for up to three days for results in the busy season. In this episode of the Corn School, AGRIS Co-operative agronomist Dale Cowan takes a close look at the 360 SoilScan portable soil test lab. AGRIS is testing two 360 SoilScan units in 2016. In this video, Cowan explains how the machine works and shares some of the early test results.

“We’re just going to give it a good test, do good comparisons, some good side-by-sides, so we can understand what it’s telling us,” says Cowan who plans to pull soil samples from its 25 N watch sites every two weeks throughout the season and test the samples using the 360 SoilScan and standard lab analysis. 

So far, Cowan says “about half the samples are right on and compare favourably” to lab analysis of the same sample. But there are examples of nitrate tests differing by up to 17 PPM.

Cowan says a clear picture should emerge after an entire season of testing. RealAgriculture will have a full report when the results are in.

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