How to Improve Your Agricultural Soil with Soil Testing

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How to Improve Your Agricultural Soil with Soil Testing

 

Agricultural Soil Testing

 

The phrase “feed the soil, not the plants is a fantastic approach to think about how important soil management is for food production.

Healthy soil is the foundation of successful farm productivity. One of the most valuable farm assets is the soil. It serves as a natural, vital water and fertilizer reservoir for crops. Each type of soil has unique features, such as texture, that cannot be altered. Farmers, on the other hand, can always improve soil quality by controlling fertilizer levels and pH.

To maintain good and result-yielding soil quality, soil testing for agricultural soil is a must.

What is soil testing?

The testing of a soil sample to evaluate nutrient content, composition, and other characteristics such as acidity or pH level is known as soil testing.  A soil test can determine fertility or the expected growth potential of the soil which indicates nutrient deficiencies, potential toxicities from excessive fertility, and inhibitions from the presence of non-essential trace minerals.

Soil analysis is an important farm activity that identifies the precise amount of available crop nutrients in the soil, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as soil pH, humus content, available lime, and organic matter. It also gives you a visual representation of the chemical, physical, and biological aspects of the soil.

Importance of agricultural soil testing

  • Soil analysis provides crucial information for improving soil quality. A farmer may quickly modify fertilization in accordance with soil and crop requirements by tracking the exact amount of soil nutrients. Soil analysis also aids crop nutrient management by showing the current pH level of the soil.
  • Soil testing is essential for determining the general physical, chemical, and biological activity of soil. When farmers notice that the soils are not reacting to crop sowing and fertilizer application, they know that the soil and crop are deficient in nutrients. As a result, they will be unable to attain optimal crop growth, production, and soil health. Finally, the nutritional balance of the soil and crops must be considered.

Thus, it is really important that farmers conduct soil testing from a good, govt accredited soil testing laboratory to ensure healthy soil quality.

Best time to get your soil testing done:

Healthy, well-balanced soil is highly essential for achieving higher harvests. As a result, farmers should collect soil samples on a regular basis to detect any changes that may have an impact on crop productivity. Soil testing services ideally should be performed every 3-4 years.

However, according to research, the frequency of soil sampling can vary depending upon cropping intensities, soil types, fertilization rates, tillage methods, weather conditions, and new research findings.

  • Continuous Row Crops (conventional) – every two to three years.
  • Double-Cropping Systems – every two years.
  • Continuous No-Till Soybeans (only) – every three to five years.
  • Continuous No-Till Corn or Cotton – every two years.
  • High-Value Cash Crops (Tobacco, Vegetables) – annually.
  • Any time a nutrient problem is suspected.

Getting soil samples tested at accredited and government-approved soil testing laboratories gives assurance of expertise testing, quicker and accurate results.

Laboratory testing of agricultural soil includes testing of macro and micronutrients, pH levels, etc so as to handle soil management better.

Fertilizing crops without first understanding their needs and the available soil nutrients is akin to driving a car while blindfolded. As a result, soil testing is the only approach to assure adequate soil management and higher production potential.

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