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Plant Root Simulator™- Probes: An effective alternative for routine soil testing

Hangs, R.D., K.J. Greer, C.A. Sulewski and D. Hicks. 2002. Soils and Crops Workshop Proc., pp 120-130. Univ. Saskatchewan


With the current uncertainty facing the agricultural community, it is imperative for producers to have all of the necessary tools available for making informed decisions regarding crop nutrition planning. Considering that there are many indeterminate factors affecting the bottom line at the end of the growing season, it is prudent to manage the risk involved whenever possible. Utilizing a network of over 20 Field Service Representatives throughout Western Canada, Western Ag Professional Agronomy provides an extensive one-on-one crop nutrition planning service to producers encompassing over 600,000 acres. Preceding any crop nutrition planning consultation, however, is the soil nutrient supply rate analysis carried out in the lab using Plant Root Simulator (PRS™) -probes. The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe the protocols employed by Western Ag Labs during routine soil analysis, including: soil sample handling and preparation; PRS™ -probe analysis; and, the quality assurance QA program. Historical ranges of selected nutrient supply rate data measured in the lab using the PRS™ -probes also are presented.

Key Words

crop nutrition planning, ion-exchange membrane, PRS™-probes, soil testing