Shop your lime source. It's important to know what the calcium/magnesium content of your soil is. In the event you're heavy on one, you don't want to compound the problem by putting the wrong lime on. Get this right, and plotting is a lot of fun for years to come.I love a good debate! This is exactly what I was hoping for. I know pH is essential - the map from X-Farmer Dan is great...and helpful. I checked my pH and in the bottom land - where my uncle planted corn and sorghum over 10 years ago - I'm getting about 6.1. Up on the hill where there was some cleared pasture, it's coming in at 5.65 - pretty close to what that map predicts. I'll probably spread lime on both areas. Any recommendations on lime application are appreciated!
The rest of the nutrient picture seems to me to be less essential, although I know that's up for debate. One thing I tend to think about is a load of hay I bought a few years back from a crusty old local farmer. I can't say it was alfalfa, clover, or what... or what he intended for it to be. It was a little of everything, and a lot of weeds. But, my goats loved it. His planting and fertilization schemes weren't up to date and would likely have made the county extension agent throw up in his mouth. But, my goats couldn't get enough of it. And they did well on it. Unfortunately, that farmer passed on about a year and a half ago. The nice, clean, alfalfa and clover I've bought since then from modern farmers who do all the soil testing isn't nearly as attractive to my goats.