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Competency Area 6: Nutrient Management and Planning

PO 44. Describe how to set a realistic yield goal by using combinations of:

  1. Production history
  2. Soil productivity
  3. Management level
  4. Soil type
  5. Artificial drainage

Fertility practices should be based on realistic yield goals, also called yield potential, recognizing inherent limitations to yield.  Yields increase with additions of a plant nutrient until a plateau is reached – the yield goal.  Poor weather, insufficient nutrients, and poor management can keep production from reaching the plateau.

Production history can be used to estimate the yield goal, by taking the average yields obtained 4 out of 5 years (discarding extreme years, like drought, that are not representative).

Soil productivity differs by geography or even by field.  As the soil productivity increases, so will the yield goal.

The management level of a field or farm can help or hinder productivity.  As the level of management improves, the yield goal can be increased up to the limits set by soil productivity and climate.

Soil type, like soil productivity, can limit the yield goal of a particular field.

Artificial drainage can increase yields for soils that are, by nature, poorly drained.