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



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Pounds to Balance
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Another unique feature of the TSM® recommendations is the "Fertilizer Index - Pounds Needed to Balance". This feature is an index of how close your Phosphorus(P) and Potassium(K) levels are to being balanced. This "Fertilizer Index" allows the grower to compare at a glance where the fertility levels stand for each soil sample. Here is how the "Fertilizer Index" pounds needed to balance is figured:
  • Set an ideal level for the Phosphorus(P) and Potassium(K).
  • Take a soil test to determine where your P and K levels are.
  • Subtract the actual level of P and K from the ideal level.
  • The total of the difference of the P and K values equals
    pounds needed to balance
A negative "Fertilizer Index" would indicate a deficiency of either Phosphorus and/or Potassium. A positive "Fertilizer Index" would indicate an excess of one or both P and K. If your "Fertilizer Index" number should happen to be "0" it would mean you have an ideal level of both P and/or K.

There are four basic benefits of using the "Fertilizer Index" pounds needed to balance in recommendations:
  • The fertilizer is put where needed most.
  • It allows maximum return on your investment.
  • Potential yields can be determined.
  • The proper objective can be determined on each field.
Each of these benefits is discussed below.
  • You can determine where the fertilizer is needed most. For those fields with a greater deficiency of nutrients, apply more fertilizer. For a field with a slight deficiency, reduce the amount of fertilizer applied. TSM® has been participating in the practice of variable rate application (VRA) by making individualized recommendations on each soil sample. See chart below:

    Click for full-size image

  • Using the "Fertilizer Index" pounds needed to balance we can help the grower get a maximum return on investment. This can happen not only for the reason just discussed, but also because a greater return is gained per dollar on fields needing the most fertilizer as compared to fields needing less. If a budget must be followed, TSM® can tell you how to spend your fertilizer dollars in the most efficient way. See chart below:

    Click for full-size image

  • Maximum potential yields can be determined. For example, if you have 2 fields which normally yield the same even though one of the fields has a much greater pounds-to-balance deficiency, you can know that this field has the potential to yield more if the deficiency is corrected. See chart below:

    Click for full-size image

  • TSM® can help you determine the proper objective for each field using this "Fertilizer Index". The first objective may be to increase yield. Those fields with low fertility would fall into this category. The second objective would be to reduce fertilizer cost per acre. Those fields which have high fertility levels fall into this category. The third objective would be to do both across the entire farm. Again, this is a way to give each grower a maximum return on investment. See chart below:

    Click for full-size image


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