Test results will be as reliable as the sample collected in the field. Proper collection of soil samples is extremely important. Follow these steps to obtain a good soil sample:
- Decide if your field can be treated as one sample or needs to be broken down into separate smaller samples. If you believe the soil type, previous crop and fertilizer treatments are consistent across the field, treat it as one sample. If soil type and topography change across the field, different crops have been planted on different parts of the field, or there are problem spots, break the field down into smaller units to sample.
- Using a soil probe (available at the Extension Office) or shovel, dig vertically to a depth of 6 inches for row crop samples and to 4 inches for pasture samples. If the available nitrogen, chloride, or sulphur tests are desired, a subsoil sample to 24 inches is necessary.
- Take at least 10 – 15 samples from the field and mix the samples together in a clean, plastic container to create a representative sample. The more sub samples you take, the more assured you’ll be that soil test results are representative of your field. Put approximately two cups of the mixed soil in a re-sealable, plastic bag. Take the soil sample to your local Extension Office.
- Samples should be dry. You can let samples air dry, but do not use heat to dry your samples.
We will need the following information:
- Name, complete mailing address and phone number
- Location of sample
- Sample depth
- Intended crop and yield goal
- Previous crop
The sample will be sent to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Kansas State University for analysis. An Agriculture Agent will make recommendations and the report will be mailed to you. The average time required to complete the analysis is 2 – 3 weeks.