Soil Testing Guidance

Collecting the Soil Sample

For each distinct soil area you are sampling, take 5 to 10 subsamples from 4"-8" deep and mix them together to obtain the final sample. Take the subsamples by selecting spots in a pattern that ensures a balanced representation of the whole area sampled. On average you will need a total of 4-5 cups of soil. 

Soil Analysis Terms & Applications

Soil analysis results may be listed in ppm (parts per million) or pounds per acre. To convert from ppm to pounds multiply by 2 and to convert from pounds per acre to ppm divide by 2.

Soil pH - The soil pH measures active soil acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. Values lower than 7.0 are acid; values higher are alkaline. Usually the most desirable pH range for mineral soils is 6.0 to 7.0.

You may notice that nitrogen (N) is not always measured. Although nitrogen is a macro plant essential nutrient, required in larger quantities and is often the limiting factor in plant growth, it is very difficult to measure in the field and make accurate assumptions on how much will be available for crop use. Nitrogen is a very dynamic nutrient, moving very quickly in the environment from one form to another.

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