Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211

advertisements
   
   
   
    
   
   
   
   
   

Agricultural News


Extension Soil Sampling Services as Popular as Ever, Even During Pandemic

Fri, 22 May 2020 08:19:43 CDT

Extension Soil Sampling Services as Popular as Ever, Even During Pandemic While Oklahoma State University Extension county offices have adopted social distancing safeguards, their ability to help process soil samples has remained largely unhindered by the COVID-19 mandates.

Extension personnel have gotten creative.

“I get at least three to four phone calls a day asking if we are still taking samples and inquiring about our procedures given the pandemic,” Oklahoma County Extension Director LaDonna Hines said. “Our office set up a drop box where soil samples and accompanying information are deposited, allowing contactless delivery.”

It is impossible to provide an accurate fertilizer recommendation without an accurate, timely soil test, which is why many Oklahomans in rural and urban settings rely on OSU Extension to take the guesswork out of their crop, pasture, gardening or lawncare needs. Apply too little and soil and plants suffer; too much and runoff can occur, possibly leading to environmental problems.

In Oklahoma County, a member of the Extension office picks up deposited samples several times a week. Customers are called by phone to take payments and record additional details as needed. The customer information sheet is forwarded to Josh Campbell, the county office’s agricultural educator, and the soil samples are sent to OSU’s Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory. He checks with the OSU lab daily to verify which samples have been tested and maintain as speedy a process as possible.

“Once I have the test results, I add my comments and suggestions as usual, attach my signature using Adobe Acrobat software and email the sample results and recommendations to the client,” Campbell said. “Those who have questions then email me or speak with me by phone. We’ve been averaging about 175 samples per month, which is about normal.”

The Oklahoma County Extension Office can process credit card payments, which makes dropping off soil samples and paying for test results even easier for clients.

The Choctaw County Extension Office likewise has experienced little change in the number of soil samples processed. Although the office is not set up for credit card payments, staff has worked around that problem, too.

“We prefer checks, which are passed to us through a glass partition, much the same as people are used to doing at banks,” Choctaw County Extension Director Marty Montague said. “It’s been pretty much business as usual except that we’ve only been open to the public a couple of days during the week.”

Montague said he has also made use of social media to share information that local farmers, ranchers, homeowners and landowners may find useful – for example, if a significant number of soil samples from across the county are showing a lack of nitrogen. Information spurs action.

“Guessing about additives often means too little or too much fertilizer gets added, which is not only detrimental to soil and plant health but also wastes money,” Montague said.

Cleveland County Extension Agricultural Educator Bradley Secraw said the Norman-based office has been doing things similarly to what is happening throughout the OSU Extension county office system. However, Cleveland County Extension sends invoices to clients rather than asking them to leave payment.

“It has definitely been a team effort to minimize any delay in service and most clientele have been very understanding of changes to our procedures given social distancing mandates from the city and state,” Secraw said. “We try to have one person in the office at a time and there is a sign with instructions for contacting us posted on the door. Some of our educators have even shared their personal cell phone numbers.”

Garfield County Extension Director Rick Nelson was among those who set up a drop box at the county office. Given the many benefits of soil sampling, Nelson said it really is an investment and not a cost, and an affordable one at that.

“We start with the routine test, which costs about $10. The OSU lab retains soil samples for 90 days, so it’s easy enough for us to call the lab and facilitate more specific tests depending on individual producer or homeowner decisions,” he said. “Basically, people only pay for what they need.”

Grady County Extension Director Liz Taylor said county clientele have said they like the drop box method so much that she may make it permanent.

“We will be putting signs out for people to come in and visit, once social distancing mandates allow us to open back up to the public,” Taylor said. “However, the drop box method allows people to bring by samples whenever it is most convenient to them and not have to worry about office hours. Now that is service.”

For more information about soil sampling and other research-based agronomic and horticultural best management practices access OSU Extension fact sheets online. Also available online are video segments about soil sampling and similar beneficial agricultural practices, produced as part of OSU Extension’s award-winning agricultural television program SUNUP.

OSU Extension is one of two state agencies administered by the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and is a key part of OSU’s state and federally mandated teaching, research and Extension land-grant mission.


   

 

WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI

 


Top Agricultural News

  • New Interim Commissioner of Health, Lance Frye on Oklahoma's Covid-19 Response, and Rural Healthcare  Tue, 26 May 2020 16:51:02 CDT
  • Oklahoma Grain Elevator Cash Bids as of 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 26  Tue, 26 May 2020 16:35:40 CDT
  • Tyson Foods Impacts Oklahoma Communities with Protein Donations   Tue, 26 May 2020 16:34:47 CDT
  • Jacey Fye Named New Oklahoma FFA Foundation Executive Director  Tue, 26 May 2020 16:22:14 CDT
  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Market Wrap-Up with Justin Lewis  Tue, 26 May 2020 16:15:59 CDT
  • Major Corn States' Acres Nearing 90 Percent Planted As Combines Wait On Wheat To Mature.  Tue, 26 May 2020 16:12:47 CDT
  • President Duvall: Pandemic Part of Farm Economy "Perfect Storm"  Tue, 26 May 2020 10:07:36 CDT
  • This Weeks Ag in the Classroom Features Beef Cattle--A MOOOOving Lesson!   Tue, 26 May 2020 10:04:30 CDT

  • More Headlines...

       

    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma City Farm Show KIS FUTURES, INC. Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment AFR Insurance Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association

    Our Road to Rural Prosperity sponsors!

    Banc First OPSRC ORWA TPAOO TPAOO

    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com


       
       
    © 2008-2020 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.