Pumpkin spice is everywhere, kids are excited about their Halloween costumes, harvests are complete, and there is that increasing crispness in the air. It is officially fall time in the Central Valley. And the fall is a critical time to get vital amendments on your field.
Holloway Ag’s Director of Agronomy, Steve Lenander recommends getting those amendments on your soil right after harvest, or as soon as the crop is off the ground. But the key to knowing what amendments you need is to test your soil.
“Growers can either collect soil samples themselves and send them to Holloway to analyze, or we can come out and do the soil testing for them,” Steve says. “Either way we will get a full diagnostic of what their soil needs and can make recommendations to ensure a healthy soil for next year.”
Common Fall Soil Amendments for the Central Valley
In the Central Valley, the most common soil amendment needs are gypsum and compost. Many fields also end up needing potassium and phosphorus after harvest. Our soils suffer from excessive salt buildup as well as a dry desert climate. The desert depletes the organic matter and we don’t have good water resources, so those deposits of salt sit in the soil. The compost is blended with fertilizers and reintroduces that critical organic matter and microbes into the soil. The gypsum then helps the soil get better water infiltration and fills in the gaps with calcium, which is a larger molecule than sodium, forcing the sodium out of the soil profile.
Get Soil Amendments Spread Before the Rain Comes
It is very important not to delay the application of amendments after harvest. Crops that have most recently been harvested are almonds, pistachios, stone fruits, cotton, corn and other row crops. There are also a number of citrus growers who harvested back in June and July. For those growers, it is still not too late to spread amendments. The key is to get the amendments on the soil before the rains come, and Holloway has spreading services that can help get your mix of soil amendments in place before the weather hits.
“It is just painful to run equipment after the rain,” Steve says. “The rain usually comes in earnest around Thanksgiving and late November, which gives us just over another month. We try and get everything done before then if we can because the equipment can get stuck and the material is harder to spread.”
Invest in the Future of Your Field
Holloway’s agronomists strongly warn against neglecting to add soil amendments in the fall. Doing so hurts your soil’s chances for the future and puts your yields at risk. By getting your soil tested and the proper amendments spread before the rain, you are setting your operation up for success in 2021.
“The worst thing you can do as a grower is put your foot off the gas after harvest,” Steve says. “I tell people that it is like planning for the future – even if the economy is bad, you still want to be investing in your 401K.”
Still need your fall soil amendments? Give us a call us at 800-441-7887.