The Importance of Soil Sampling on a Regular Schedule

3 Minute Read

Having Quality Soil Test Data is a Necessity in Modern Agriculture.

Soil sampling brings much more value to an agronomy center than just a base layer to be used in a set of equations. During the 2-4 year lifespan of a soil test it will bring that grower through your door again and again to make decisions about seed, chemical, fertilizer, and more, impacting nearly all aspects of your business. It will truly become the foundation of the relationship where that grower comes to you for direction as their trusted advisor.

Soil sampling is a key step to you owning the business on those acres for years to come. It seems natural that at the end of a soil sample’s lifespan the next step would be to re-enroll those acres to be sampled again, locking that business back in and continuing your relationship with the grower. We did some research on how often this resampling occurs and came up with a startling result:

Up to 65% of Fields That are Due for Resampling Never Get Done.

These are all growers who have already been sold on the value of soil sampling, and have been making decisions with you based on the resulting recommendations for years. How do so many get missed? We asked a few agronomists to weigh in and here are some of their thoughts:

  • Acres changing hands.  Whether it is due to a farm sale, inheritance, or land rental changes any time the management of a farm changes hands the sampling cycle for those acres can get interrupted.
  • Staff changes.  Every year some people retire, new people are hired, and employee roles can be switched around internally. These changes can add up in the years between sampling events – making it difficult to keep track of which fields are due.
  • Lost the Grower.  Sometimes losing a customer is just out of your control. Some growers will always be short-term customers, shopping around every year. Others see a greater value in a long-term partnership and could potentially become loyal customers. A difficult question to ask is “Did I lose an opportunity to create a loyal customer because I missed re-enrolling them in my program?”.
  • Timing and weather issues.  Uncontrollable circumstances keep even the best plans from staying on track. Sometimes the only choice is to make a short-term decision to postpone resampling and get back on schedule next year. But now that you’re off your schedule how do you flag those acres to make sure they get done?

How Do You Ensure That Your Hard Earned Work Doesn’t Slip Through the Cracks (And Walk Out the Door)?

The people who are most successful with getting customer sampling acres re-enrolled on a set schedule have a Customer Management System in place that prompts them when a field is due. These systems address some of the roadblocks agronomists face and can help save time spent hunting down information. To be effective they need to be meticulously maintained with any changes that occur over the years to remain accurate.

To aid our customers SoilView has developed a similar feature within our SoilView System called ReTain. This program is completely integrated with SoilView to keep it accurate and up to date and is a great tool to help overcome the challenges in re-enrolling soil sampling.

3 Ways ReTain Enables a Successful Resampling Program

  1. It identifies who you need to talk to.  ReTain uses a geography based lookup that compares your previous sampling events within SoilView. It generates a list of your growers and their specific fields that are due for resampling. You can focus your time on conversations with your growers – instead of figuring out who to talk to.
  2. It makes re-enrollment easy.  All of the previous information for the fields you want is carried forward into new soil sampling orders, eliminating the need to re-enter anything by hand. This saves you time, and you can be confident that your sampling program is accurate, up to date, and on track. Some people choose to have ReTain auto-enroll their growers on a set schedule, making it even easier to ensure every grower is taken care of.
  3. It allows for more strategic planning.  Too often soil sampling conversations happen as an afterthought. By identifying who to talk to early on and making a specific plan with them about their soil sampling, you lay the groundwork to maximize their reliance on you for all other aspects of their operation. A proactive approach to re-enroll these acres will help solidify your role as their trusted advisor.

If You Haven’t Started, Now is the Time

Right now is a great time to start leveraging ReTain to identify which growers you need to talk to, easily re-enroll their fields, and have all of your sampling orders ready to release with the push of a button. Contact us today if you want help getting started, or visit our webpage to learn more. We want to help you be successful!