The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) recently released the 2015 Soil Test Levels in North America report. This report is the latest in the series of summaries that IPNI, along with the Potash and Phosphate Institute (PPI), its predecessor organization, have produced since the late 1960s. Soil testing labs around the country were asked to supply soil test data with the only identification being the state a sample comes from. Data from over 7 million samples from 60 soil testing labs is included in the 2015 summary. In conjunction with the 2015 summary IPNI developed a Soil Test Summary website with extensive capabilities to evaluate and summarize data at a national, regional and state level.
A&L Great Lakes Laboratories contributes to the periodic IPNI soil test summaries because we believe there is significant value in knowing current soil test levels and their trends over time. Consistent with this, each year we provide soil test summaries to each of our soil testing customers. This enables them to review soil test levels for their business. We also create yearly soil test summaries for the Great Lakes region, states and quadrants of states, with over 10 years of these summaries posted on the A&L Great Lakes website for public use.
The geographical size (scale) of a soil test summary determines what information can be gained. The IPNI national survey provides a window into state and regional soil fertility management practices as well as evaluating the effects of fertilizer sales trends. Drilling down to a sub-state, watershed or county level allows a closer look at nutrient management practices. An agronomic consultant or fertilizer dealer may identify challenges or opportunities when viewing their soil test summary. A farming operation can evaluate trends for their entire business, individual farms and/or fields. When all of this data is used together, a more complete picture of the overall trends in soil fertility management come into better focus.
Trends in soil test levels are powerful tools that can be used to guide soil fertility management decisions on many levels. A&L Great Lakes is proud to work with IPNI to contribute to this valuable resource.