Farm soil tests are common decision support tools employed by regulatory agencies and farmers to manage nutrients in an economical and environmentally sustainable way. The complex interplay between the local environment and locally relevant crops makes soil testing, and critically soil-test-based recommendations, site-specific. Newfoundland and Labrador has a relatively small but rapidly growing commercial agriculture industry, mainly on lands converted from the boreal forest over the last 80 yr. A first step towards developing locally calibrated fertilizer recommendations is understanding current practices. For this, we examined regular farm soil test reports and associated recommendations for Newfoundland (Nfld). Following a request distributed to 167 farmers, 1503 soil tests were obtained from 32 farms. Although tests exemplify the gamut of crops in Nfld, more than half were from forage and mixed forage fields in western Nfld, representing dairy farms. Results show that even in the absence of more comprehensive site analyses, an investigative survey of farm tests may be employed to recognize possible environmental and economic inefficiencies of local cropping systems, including regional and crop type-driven differences for both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizations. Soil-test-based identification of possible N and (or) P inefficiencies and associated crop and regional particularities, including excess fertilization, can be employed to devise targeted research for improved, preventative decision tools to increase the sustainability of Nfld agricultural systems.
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