Just as humans and animals must have food to survive, so plants must have proper nutrition if they are to survive and produce well. The soil is a vast reservoir of nutrients needed by plants; however, soils vary widely in their nutrient status, and a deficiency of one element can limit forage-plant growth and encourage weed encroachment. The most sensible approach to providing balanced fertility is to have soil samples tested prior to forage establishment to determine nutrient levels and fertilizer needs. Keep good records of soil test results and the amounts of fertilizer and lime applied to each field. Forage fields should have soil samples taken every third year. A soil test is the most important agronomic and economic investment in your overall forage fertility program. In Kentucky, the fertility factors most limiting to growth are usually lime, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Boron (B) is always recommended where alfalfa is to be grown or where red clover is to be harvested for seed. Prior to establishing a new stand, lime, phosphorus, and potassium should be applied according to soil test recommendations. If the cropping history of a field indicates nitrogen is needed at seeding, it is usually recommended at the rate of 30 pounds per acre on grass-legume mixtures and 50 pounds per acre for straight grasses. Annual applications of fertilizer should be made as soil tests and crop removal indicate.