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Is Soil Testing Important in Agriculture?

Soil testing is an important activity of farm management. Soil analysis generally determines the number of available nutrients in the soil. Such as N, P, K, pH, EC, Ca, Mg, S, organic carbon, and micronutrients. In addition, micronutrients include Zn, Br, Mn, Fe, Cu, and Mo.

Furthermore, you can also determine the specific deficiency of those particular nutrients in the soil for the specific crop. In addition, you can also measure, soil pH, humic matter, and exchangeable acidity. To remain profitable in agriculture under present conditions, every farmer and grower must consider measuring fertility levels.

These analyses indicate whether the soil needs lime and, if so, how much to apply.  If you apply too little fertilizer, you will get a lower crop yield and return. Too much fertilizer will waste time and money and risk environmental damage due to nutrient runoff.

Consequently, soil testing provides a farm management tool with the potential benefit to the farmer of increased yields. In addition, it reduces operating costs and superior environmental risk management.

In addition, you can get improved crop maturity and quality, higher tolerance to disease and pest damage, and increased growth. Therefore, soil testing comes under the best farm management practice globally for any type of crop.

Why Soil Testing is Important?

Soil testing is important for every farm and for every type of crop. It determines the inputs required for efficient and economic production. A proper soil analysis allows you to ensure the application of enough fertilizer to meet the requirements of the crop.

Suggested Read: How To Start A Soil Testing Service Business

On the other hand, you can take advantage of the nutrients already present in the soil. However, you must collect the soil sample with the right technique. The result of soil analysis heavily depends on the proper sample collection process.

Economic Benefits of Soil Testing

If you are growing valuable crops commercially, you must test the soil before every plantation. Soil testing helps farmers to achieve economically optimum yields while protecting the environment.

Also, it is a guide for nutrient management decisions related to manure and sludge application. If you test the soil properly, you can reduce your input cost to a considerable measure.

What Result You Can Expect From Soil Testing?

There are two types of soil analysis. One is Soil Test Recommendation and another is Soil Fertigation Recommendation. You can get a fact sheet about the following parameters.

  • First of all, the current pH levels of your soil.
  • Fertility levels of the principal nutrients.
  • Type and quantity of lime your soil needs.
  • What Nutrients you must add to your soil as fertilizer?
  • The amount of fertilizer your crop and soil need.

However, these all are the essential things that determine the input cost of your farm.

Why You Must Collect Soil Samples?

Find below some of the benefits of collecting soil:

  • Establish baseline soil nutrient status for new landowners
  • Measure change in soil nutrient status over time
  • Document soil nutrient management for certification requirements
  • Determine nutrient application recommendations prior to planting
  • Assess pH and the need for liming
  • Avoid excessive nutrient applications or soluble salt accumulation
  • Develop a plan for possible variable-rate fertilizing within a field

When To Collect The Soil Samples For Soil Testing

You must carry out soil analysis regularly. However, you can collect soil samples at any time throughout the year. Spring sampling provides the most current soil conditions and nutrient availability prior to planting but may be inconvenient in terms of time commitment.

Early fall sampling gives results in time for fall liming, but may also be inopportune as this may be timed too close to harvesting operations.

How To Collect The Soil Samples?

Take the sample where you are planting the crop.  Avoid sampling in small areas where you know that conditions are different from the rest of the field.

Suggested Read: Crop Rotation Information Guide For Farmers

Avoid contaminating the sample. You must use clean sampling tools, and avoid contaminating the sample during mixing or packaging. A small amount of fertilizer residue on tools or hands, for instance, can cause serious contamination of the soil sample.

Never include mulch or vegetation in the sample. Furthermore, never use galvanized metal, brass, or bronze tools to collect samples.