TSM Services Research Farm, Catlin, Illinois, USA
     Total Soil Management® Program
                                  by TSM® Services, Inc.



Create Your Own Fertilizer Recommendations
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Balance Charts
Introduction
Test Plots
Fertilizer Efficiency
Nutrient Relationships
Granu-Cal®
Nutrient Cycles
Pounds To Balance
Balance Charts
Micronutrients
Fertilizer Budgets
Nutrient Excess/Deficiency
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There are two balance charts given with each soil sample in the TSM® program. Originally, these charts were made for myself to be used when making fertilizer recommendations. As I was making the recommendation, I could get a quick view of the fertility status and adjust the recommend- ation to reflect trends I wanted to either create or change to get the fertility going in the right direction.

There were several things I wanted to know to be able to make a good fertilizer recommendation:
  1. Chart I - Status of Individual Nutrients from Current Soil Test:

    1. How does this nutrient's soil lab score rate on a scale of "high", "good", "medium", "poor"?  I want all the nutrients to maintain a rating of "good".
    2. Are there any nutrients hampering the availability of another nutrient? If so, we will need to add this nutrient either through the starter or foliar treatment to maintain maximun economic yield "MEY".
    3. Now that I know what range this nutrient's score is in, I want to know if this nutrient is in balanced position with the particular situation we have with this test. If the test score is within balance, I want the bar to be solid colored. If the test score is not within a balanced position, I want the bar to be dashes. With this color coding, I should be able to make a very quick determination if I am working on big decisions or small "fine tuning". Am I working to achieve "balance" or "fine tuning"? In balancing, we are looking for major change. In fine tuning, we are looking for small changes.

  2. Chart II - Yearly Plotted Nutrients, Status and Trends:

    1. Is this nutrient's soil lab test score on an "up cycle" or a "down cycle"? If we are on an "up cycle", we will have a higher fertilizer efficiency, so we will reduce the amount of the fertilizer recommendation. If we are on a "down cycle", we will have a lower fertilizer efficiency,we will add to the amount. Does this make good sense or what??
    2. Are we maintaining a rating of "good"? One of the reasons you might not be maintaining a "good" rating is harvesting bigger yields than you used as your "yield goals". Let's say you set a yield goal of 200 bushels of corn per acre and harvested 225 bushels per acre. Your harvested yield was 25 bushels higher than your yield goal. Would you expect the soil test scores to go up or down? I hope you said I would expect them to go down. When this happens, you need to adjust your budget up.
    3. I want you, the farmer customer, to know exactly where you are fertility-wise all the time!!

    One quick reminder on the micronutrient soil tests on the balance charts: all micronutrient soil test values given from labs will show what is available to the plant and what is unavailable to the plant. However, there is no way to know for sure what amount is available and what amount is unavailable. This can cause the balance charts to be quite deceiving, because it may show a micronutrient as being in excess, when in fact it may be largely unavailable to the plant.

    In the example given below, the top bar chart shows the soil test value for each nutrient and shows the percent of desired level in the current recommendation being made. The bottom graph shows a progression of the nutrients on a year to year basis, up to 5 years.

    The numbers on the bottom show the crop year and the pounds needed to balance for that year's soil test. A "smiley face" indicates that the recommendation is now in a fine-tuning stage.

    Finally, the cycling number in the lower right hand corner shows the difference between the last two pounds-to-balance figures on the progression chart.

Balance Charts

Balance Chart I

Balance Chart II


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