The open fall has meant farmers have a window of opportunity to get their fall soil tests done.
Crops Extension Specialist Matt Struthers says there are a number of methods to consider, but it all begins with knowing what your field needs are.
"Some will be able to get away with a random sampling of their whole field depending on how uniform that field is. Some might be able to take a benchmark approach, where they sample the same location in each field. each year, and kind of get a baseline to continue on from there. The third would be they create what we call crop management zones. So every field is mapped completely different depending on its soil characteristics, topography and management history."
He notes while there's many different avenues that producers can take, it still involves collecting the soil at either a six inch, or twelve inch depth, putting it all together for that one location and then sending it into the lab for analysis.
Struthers says taking time now to soil test in the fall gives farmers more time to evaluate the results and order crop inputs.
"That pre-planning of knowing what you need in the fall so you don't overspend going into the spring is very important. If you know what you might need, you don't need to put as many nutrients in the soil come the springtime."
He says while it may cost upfront for the soil tests, it can be more cost-effective in the long run because your not guessing at what soil nutrients you need and over spending on crop inputs.
There are a number of companies and agrologists that offer soil testing services.