The Agriculture Testing Services (ATS) will be moving to a new location this spring. ATS will move approximately one-half mile west of the Agricultural Division's offices on Sam Noble Parkway. This move will be significant for those who deliver soil, hay, feed or water samples for analysis. For those of you familiar with the area, the property was formerly a soft drink bottling plant and warehouse on the south side of Sam Noble Parkway. The bottling plant's office area is being remodeled and equipped to efficiently handle sample preparation before shipping to the laboratory for analysis. This move will not affect those of you who mail or ship your samples to the Noble Research Institute's ATS for analysis. The address and phone number will remain the same. Many of you know that ATS handles a considerable number of internal samples for our research staff, so much of the field research equipment and some of the research personnel will be housed at this site.
Most everyone by now has read a few articles or heard several news reports about the year 2000 (Y2K) problem with computer programs. Our present ATS computer programs were developed in the mid-1980's and went on line in the fall of 1987. These computer programs are not Y2K compliant. Our Information Systems department is working with ATS and staff specialists to develop new programs that are Y2K compliant. The new ATS computer programs being developed will also be running on new up-to-date hardware. The new hardware and software will allow us to offer easy-to-read test results and recommendations. Transition to the new software should begin in midsummer and be completed by the end of the year.
The total number of forage, hay and feed samples processed by ATS in 1998 were up 1.82 percent over the average (3,625) of the past three years. Soil sample numbers (3,146) were down 1.17 percent for the same time frame. These numbers seem to indicate that the past year's harsh weather conditions had little affect on the sample counts.
If you have not taken your soil samples for warm season crops and pastures, then now is the time to take them. It takes an average of eight workdays from the time we receive the sample to get the results back. So, in order to take advantage of efficient fertilization guided by a soil test, allow yourself and us plenty of time. If you have any questions about sampling or ATS, please give us a call.