Soil Sampling Procedure
Why is it good to take soil samples?
- Nutrient amounts in the soil matches plant needs.
- Future nutrient applications match and do not exceed the needs of the plants.
- Monitor and correct soil acidity levels (pH) to ensure nutrient uptake.
When to collect a soil sample: Fall
- Lab results and nutrient recommendations may be returned more quickly because fewer samples are submitted.
- Allows you to apply the fertilizer when prices are generally lower.
- A field should always be resampled at the same time of the year so you can make historical comparisons.
- Soil Probe or trowel
- Plastic Bucket
- Soil Sample Kit
How to sample:
- An individual sample should represent no more than 10 acres.
- Larger pasture of 15 acres, collect samples in a “W” shape/pattern.
- Considerations for sampling specific areas:
- Past management
- Cropping history
- Individually sample areas that have received different management or vary in soil type, have suffered erosion or that are different in topography.
- Collect at least 20 soil cores for small areas and up to 30 cores for larger fields.
- Forages on average will utilize the first four (4) to six (6) inches of depth in our soil
- Take a core sample that is comprised of equal amounts of soil from zero (0) to six (6) inches in depth.
- Randomly take the soil cores throughout the sampling area and place them in a plastic bucket.
- Dung piles
- Old fencerows or under trees
- Areas used for manure or hay storage
- Livestock feeding areas where lime was previously stockpiled
Submitting a sample:
- Mix your cores together and remove all plant material and stones.
- Collect about a quart bag of soil and let it dry off completely.
- Fill in your information on the bag BEFORE putting the soil in it.
- Match the information on your bag and the submittal form.
Soil Test Results and Interpretations:
- Soil acidity ( pH)
- Nutrient levels
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Lime and Fertilizer Recommendations