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Soil Fertility/Nutrient Management

Managing soil fertility and nutrients for crop production involves many factors. Soil test-based recommendations provide information regarding whether supplemental nutrients may, or may not, be useful in growing plants on a particular soil. Fertilizer costs have increased substantially over the past 10 years, and there is more interest in using organic fertilizers. Lime in Mississippi is a significant investment. Furthermore, there is increased manager and societal interest in managing plant nutrients to minimize any negative effects within the agriculture-environment interface.

Mississippi State University has a long and distinguished history of soils, soil fertility, and nutrient management research and extension that is drawn upon for our recommendations. Much of that information for growing most agronomic crops in Mississippi is now collated here.

MSU Extension Service Publication 2647 Nutrient Management Guidelines for Agronomic Crops Grown in Mississippi, contains the following information:

  • Introduction to Nutrient Management
  • The Soils of Mississippi
  • Plant Nutrients
  • Introduction to Soil Testing
  • Introduction to Inorganic Fertilizers
  • Lime, Liming Materials, and Regulations in Mississippi
  • Using Poultry Litter to Fertilize Agronomic Crops
  • Best Management Practices for Nutrients in Agronomic Crop Production
  • Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Based Recommendations for Hay and Pasture Crops.
  • Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Based Recommendations for Annual Agronomic Crops
  • Soil Fertility/Nutrient Management Glossary, adopted from the International Certified Crop Adviser Program.

More information is available, including:

Soil Sampling Information


Plant Nutrients and Liming

Specific Crop Nutrient Management

 The Plant Nutrition Radio Series - Audio files from the Farm and Family Radio Show

Other Fertilizer Information

Other Information

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A marker stating “Common Vetch” stands in a section of tall green grass.
Filed Under: Crops, Soils, Weed Control for Crops January 22, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Producers who plant winter crops with no intention of harvesting them reap the benefits of soil conservation, weed control and nutrient retention.

On the flip side, however, the practice of almost constant production in a field creates issues with pest management. Farmers who “plant green” have to balance these challenges to best prepare the way for good crops each year.

Filed Under: Soils, Soil Testing May 25, 2017

New manager of operations Keri Jones recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory, and she's ready to enhance the unit's efficiency."

"My primary goal is to provide accurate soil analysis in a timely manner," said Jones, an Extension associate who has worked in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences since 2016. "I hope to improve the overall efficiency of the lab as well as update soil nutrient application recommendations."

Eddie Stevens, farm supervisor at Mississippi State University’s R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, was applying a liquid fertilizer to a corn field on April 5, 2016. Correct application of nutrients is a key part of environmental stewardship and efficient farm management. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: Soils April 13, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- One major cost of producing a good crop is ensuring plants are fertilized well, an operational expense that may consume a significant part of farm budgets.

Bryon Parman, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said nutrient application and replenishment may consume more than 13 and 14 percent of total operating expenses for cotton and soybeans.

“For crops with high nutrient demand such as corn, this nutrient cost may comprise more than 40 percent of variable costs,” Parman said.

Larry Oldham, Mississippi State University soil specialist, samples soil in a Delta field on Oct. 17, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
Filed Under: Crops, Soils, Soil Health May 21, 2015

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers should not take the state’s rich soil for granted, but the question of the best way to treat this valuable resource sparks debate.

“Soil can be thought of as a living organism that must be kept healthy to provide some of the crop requirements and make efficient use of inputs, especially fertilizer,” said Larry Oldham, soil specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Poor weather conditions often stretch out Mississippi's row crop planting season as overly wet or cool fields keep planters in the barn. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
Filed Under: Farming, Crops, Soils April 17, 2015

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Seeing planters in the field is an expected part of spring in rural areas, but a lot of effort goes into making sure they run at the right time.

Planting season in Mississippi begins with corn in late February to early March and often runs into July as the last of the soybeans are planted after wheat harvest. The long planting window allows producers the opportunity to get a crop in the ground even when the weather is not ideal at typical peak planting times.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 1:00am
Monday, January 2, 2017 - 1:00am
Sunday, January 11, 2015 - 6:00pm

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Soil Health, Soil Fertility, Nutrient Management, Soil Conservation and Management, Certified Crop A