UT Beef and Forage Center


Changing soil fertility can often be one of the largest single expenses on a livestock farm. The nutrients provided in fertilizer are important for adequate forage growth. Without the right pH or adequate nutrients, plant growth will be limited. Understanding which nutrients are needed and which type of fertilizer to use can affect the profitability of a farm.

It is important to soil test to determine the pH and nutrient content of the soil. This information will help determine the best fertilizer strategy for each field on a farm.



The Soil, Plant and Pest Center
This is your one stop service and education place! Our laboratories have served homeowners, farmers, nursery growers and researchers since 1949 providing information to assist in all areas of production; soil testing, forage and crop analysis, plant and pest diagnosis, informational sheets, and distance diagnostics.

Soil Testing
Growers who follow soil test recommendations can expect higher fertilizer efficiency, more balanced nutrient levels for crops and optimum benefits from their lime and fertilizer investments. Thus, soil testing should be the first step in planning a sound fertilization program. With a soil test, the guesswork of knowing how much lime and fertilizer to apply is eliminated.

Litter Land Application Management
This publication provides Tennessee poultry producers who do not have a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit with a litter land application rate worksheet to set agronomic litter land application rates.

Fertilizers and Their Use
An understanding of soil chemical properties is important because of their effect on nutrient availability to plants. Also, these properties may usually be favorably altered with the use of lime and/or fertilizer materials.

Nitrogen Sources for Pasture and Hay
Nitrogen is one of the major nutrients required by forage grasses for proper growth and development. Yield and forage quality response to added nitrogen can be dramatic.

Are Micronutrients Needed for Farm Fields?
This factsheet provides a listing of secondary and micronutrient soil tests available through the University of Tennessee Soil Testing Laboratory in Nashville. It summarizes all of the university’s secondary and micronutrient recommendations and guidelines based on current research.

Liming Acid Soils in Tennessee
Soil test results indicate that approximately 50 percent of the cropland in Tennessee is too acid for optimum crop production. Because of this, determining the need for lime should be the first step in developing a sound crop fertilization program.