Soils can be tested for various properties such as nutrient availability, water holding capacity, pH levels, salinity, and texture. Testing methods vary depending on the type of test desired.
For example, if the goal is to determine how much fertilizer should be applied, then chemical tests may be used. On the other hand, if the goal is simply to know whether the land is suitable for growing crops, then physical tests may be sufficient.
Furthermore, farmers and growers can also use soil testing to identify deficiencies in different nutrients. They can also test soil pH, humic material content, and exchangeable acidities. Farmers and growers who want to be successful need to take into account these factors when planning their crops.
The analysis indicates whether the soil needs lime, and if so, how much. If you add too little fertilizer, you may end up with fewer crops and less income. Too much fertilizer could result in wasted resources and harm the environment by causing pollution.
Soil testing is an important part of agricultural production because it helps farmers manage their crops better. It also reduces operational costs and improves environmental safety.
Furthermore, you can improve crop maturation, quality, resistance to diseases and pests, and increase yield. Soil testing, therefore, come under the best farming practices worldwide for any type of crop.
Why Soil Testing Is Important?
Soil tests are essential for every farm and for each type of crop. They determine the inputs needed for efficient and economical production. A proper soil analysis helps you to decide whether you need to add extra fertilizers to meet the needs of the crops.
Recommended read: How to start a soil testing service business
On one side, you can use the nutrients already present in the soil. However, you need to collect the soil samples properly. Soil analyses heavily depend on the correct sampling procedure.
Economic Benefits Of Soil Testing
Before planting any crop, you need to check the soil quality. Soil testing helps growers to achieve economical optimum yield while protecting natural resources.
Furthermore, it is a guide that provides guidance on nutrient monitoring decisions related to manure and sewage applications. If you test the soils correctly, you can reduce your inputs significantly.
What Result You Can Expect From Soil Testing?
There are two types: Soil Test Recommendations and Soil Fertigation recommendations. You can get a Fact Sheet about the following:
- To begin with, the current pH levels (acidic/alkaline) of your soil.
- Nutrient fertility levels.
- Determine the type and quantity of lime your soils need.
- Soil nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper, zinc, man
- The amount of fertilizer needed by your crops and soil.
But these are the essential things that affect the input costs of your farm.
Why Must You Collect Soil Samples?
Below are some of the reasons why you should collect soil.
- Establish baseline soil nutrients for new landowners
- Over time, measure changes in the nutrient content of the soils.
- Soil Nutrient Management: What is it?
- Prior to planting, determine nutrient requirements for each crop by using soil tests and plant analysis
- If there’s an imbalance between acidity and alkalinity, then lime
- Don’t use too much fertilizer or too many soluble salts
- Develop a fertilizer application strategy for different types of soil conditions.
When To Collect The Soil Samples For Soil Testing
Soils need to be analyzed periodically. But you can collect samples at any time during the growing season. Spring sampling is best for collecting the latest available data, but may not be convenient for you.
Samples taken early in the season give results in time for spring fertilizing, but may also be too late if they’re taken after harvest.
How To Collect The Soil Samples?
If you want to take a sample, avoid taking a sample in an area where conditions are different than the others.
Recommended read: Crop rotation guide for farmers
When collecting samples from different locations, be sure to use clean tools and avoid contaminating them by touching the soil directly. For example, if you collect samples from multiple locations using a shovel, don’t touch the soil with your bare hand before putting it into a container.
Never use mulch or plants to collect samples; instead, use plastic bags or paper cups. Also, avoid using galvanized metal, brass, or bronze utensils to collect samples.
You may like to read: Pharmacists Business Ideas for People Who Want Start A Business