Golf Course Industry Magazine : Sampling Success article discusses the many benefits (economic, conditions, environmental) of tissue and soil sampling.
From the article:
There has been no shortage of news about environmental contamination. It seems with each passing election cycle, public opinion shifts further toward restrictive policies. There is a common misconception that the golf course industry is a heavy polluter of the environment. However, the fact is the golf industry has long been a champion of the responsible use of fertilizers and pesticides.
In South Florida, there are already restrictions on residential fertilizer use during the summer months. These restrictions do not yet apply to golf courses yet, but this is probably only a matter of time. There are also similar types of legislation pending throughout the country. In the interest of being as proactive as possible, we wanted to use the tissue testing technology to demonstrate to our members and others in the community that we want to do everything possible to make efficient use of the products that we apply.
In years past, we had applied a foliar fertilizer to the greens on a seven-day schedule. This schedule was based to a certain extent on the experience we had with our Tifeagle greens. For example, if you fertilize greens every seven days that would be 52 applications per year. If those applications could be done every eight days, that would lower the number of yearly applications to 45. At an average cost of $500 per application, that saves $3,500 per year.
As you can see, small changes as a result of this technology can have a big impact on the bottom line. After our initial phase of data gathering was complete, our operation realized a $40,000 savings in fertilizer by changing products and fertilizing only as needed. Also, having the ability to do our own tissue testing allows us to continue to test new products as we receive them. Not only can tissue testing be used on warm season grasses, but it can also be used on a wide variety of turf grasses in all climate ranges. In light of some of the pending legislation, the ability to avoid excessive fertilizer applications will be vital to the golf course industry being seen as doing everything possible to be responsible stewards of the environment.