Successful farm production is only possible with healthy soil. The soil is one of the most crucial assets of a farm. It offers crops a valuable reservoir of nutrients and water. Each type of soil has got its properties. You can always improve soil quality by managing nutrient levels and soil pH. One of the most crucial actions to ensure soil quality is to get soil testing services.
What Does Soil Testing Services Include?
Soil testing is a valuable practice that determines the right amount of crop nutrients available in the soil. It also offers complete detail on the physical, chemical, and biological soil properties. Soil testing services also provide the following:
- A clear idea of phosphorous, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels.
- Soil testing analyzes the soil pH.
- Determining the humus content, organic matter, and available lime.
What is the Best Time for Soil Analysis?
Another important aspect of soil testing is the time of the year and the amount of time allocated for soil testing. For example, soil sampling for annual crops should be taken once the harvest is done. Thus, farmers will have a lot of time to plan fertilization management. On the other hand, the best time for soil analysis of perennial crops is during the dormancy stage. In the end, how often a farmer analyzes his soil will depend on whether he is ready to invest in soil quality and wants a higher yield.
Soil quality and nutrient-rich balanced soil are crucial to achieving higher yields. Therefore, the farmers must collect soil samples and opt for soil testing services to detect changes affecting crop yield. It is recommended to perform a soil testing analysis every 3-4 years. However, it is ideal for performing soil analysis as frequently as possible, especially while growing annual crops.
How to Properly Take a Sample for Soil Testing?
Taking a soil sample is more than buying a soil test kit or taking a patch of dirt to the soil test lab. There are certain crucial information you should expect in the soil test report. These include soil salinity, base saturation, electrical conductivity and more. However, to get the most accurate soil test results, you must ensure that the sample you offer is an accurate dissection of the field. To do that, you should use the samples using a probe, but if you don’t have a probe, you can use a shovel as the best alternative.
Sample Depth According to the Crop Type
You must take a sample to a depth of normal tillage, i.e., to the plants’ roots. For the field crops, the depth is 0-30 cm; for the permanent crops (vineyards and orchards), the depth is 0-30 cm and 30-60 cm. For analysis, a sample is obtained by mixing all samples from 20-25 places. If the soil is strongly sloped or the area from which the samples are taken is greater than 5 hectares, or if the soil is not the same type, you must take more individual samples.
What Happens After Soil Testing Services?
A farmer can easily manage the soil requirements for a specific crop based on the soil analysis results. The results will indicate if the farmer needs to add lime to manage the soil acidity. The liming rates are determined by considering the soil type, depth of tillage and limestone quality. Fertilizing crops without knowing their requirements and available soil nutrients is like driving a car while being blindfolded. Therefore, soil testing services are the best way to ensure proper soil management and increase yield.