Soil Testing

Soil test or soil sampling is a process by which nutritive elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, iron, copper and zinc) are removed from the soil and measured for their “plant available” status. The quantity of available nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer need to be applied for the ensuing good crop. A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and applied ION exchange capacity.

The procedure of soil sampling

  • The field is divided into sampling areas. Each sample should represent an area of not more than 2 ha. Each sample area should be uniform in soil type, slope, cropping pattern, and past fertilizer management.

  • The sampling spots (about 15 or 20) are fixed at random in a zigzag pattern to represent the entire area, taking care to avoid sampling near field bunds, wet places, tress roads, drainage ditches.

  • The surface is scraped to remove litter, stones, etc., and collect samples into a bucket from each spot up to the required depth. A uniform quantity of sample from each of the sampling spots (10-20) is collected.

Benefits

  • A proper soil analysis indicates whether lime needs to be applied and if so, what quantity needs to be applied.

  • One will get to know the right quantity and quality dose of fertilizers or amendments that can be recommended to increase crop production.

  • Helps to save the cost of manures and fertilizers.

  • Maintains the fertility of the soil.

  • To know whether the soil is suited for growing a particular crop.

  • Helps to know the right time of fertilizer application.