AgriMeasures’ nutrient service is a supplement to your existing crop agronomy and is usually instituted after some experience with irrigation management. AgriMeasures is able to measure nutrient availability and location to see if your plants' roots are able to feed. The key to success is remembering that plants drink, they do not eat. Too often nutrients are not in the root zone of active water uptake. This is an alignment problem and without the correct monitoring equipment it would be impossible to determine if such a misalignment exists in your field.
Ever fix one thing only to find it caused another problem?
The alignment graph shows that the plant got almost 40% of its seasonal water from the 4” (10cm) depth but that level only had 20% of the nutrients at the same 4” (10cm) depth. Conversely; the plant got no water from the 20” (50cm) level yet that had almost 20% of the nutrients. This is the miss-alignment discussed earlier. Without measurements provided by the probe data, no corrective action would be possible.
It is not how much fertilizer is applied, it is how much made it into the plant without waste. USDA estimates that 50% of nitrogen applied is not used by plants. With the cost of fertilizer being one of the largest input cost for product, a 10% saving would greatly improve your bottom line.
We can not emphasize enough that until watering practices are corrected for the specific variety, any action to nutrient applications is a waste of time. Water is the means by which plants take up nutrients; however, water carries fertilizer to may levels of the soil. Without soil water monitoring it is impossible to determine where the plant is getting the nutrients, so adjustments would just be a guess. We prefer to use data to make management decisions.