With the rising costs of fertilizer, farmers are looking for ways to reduce their fertilizer input costs, while at the same time not reduce their ultimate crop yield potential.

To address this important issue, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a Soil Fertility Conference.

The Soil Fertility Conference will be held on Sept. 25 at the Texas Agrilife Research & Extension Center on State Highway 44 just west of the Corpus Christi Airport. A morning session beginning with 8:30 a.m. registration will focus on row crops. Following a break for lunch, the afternoon session will begin with registration at 1:15 p.m. and will focus on forages and pasture fertility. Advice will be offered for pesticide applicators and certified crop advisors.

The row-crop session will focus on topics including; update on fertilizer cost trends, improving fertilizer management, nitrogen and phosphorus management, crop nutrient needs, and soil testing methods. The pasture session will include topics on maintaining improved pastures with high fertilizer costs, reducing nitrogen needs with legumes, and pasture weed control. The speakers will include Tony Provin, Extension Soil Chemist and Director of the Texas A&M Soil Testing Laboratory, and Dan Fromme, Extension Agronomist.

Producers can gear up for next year's growing season by soil sampling now to determine the status of soil nutrients in their fields and pastures. The Nueces County Extension Office is coordinating a special soil testing campaign through Oct. 31.

Soil samples may be turned in at your local County Extension Office for analysis at up to a 33 percent reduced testing fee. Soil tests will be run by the Texas A&M University Soil Testing Laboratory for a reduced fee of $6 per sample for the routine analysis and $10 for routine/micronutrient analysis during this special campaign.

This special soil testing campaign is for row crop farmers and ranchers with improved pastures. Soil sample bags and test information sheets may be obtained in the County Extension Office.

Recent dry conditions have allowed the cotton harvest to resume and cotton stalk destruction should occur as soon as possible. Due to the late August rains and later maturing cotton, the stalk destruction deadline for Nueces and San Patricio Counties and Bee and Live Oak counties south of State Highway 59 have been extended to Sept. 21.

Research had shown that the use of 2,4-D on standing or shredded cotton plants is an excellent way to eliminate cotton stalks.

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.