Critical Factors to Consider During Soil Testing
You should go for soil testing if you want enhanced yields from your farm. The technology enables farmers to understand the physical, chemical, and biological attributes of soil. Most importantly, soil testing ensures that the right crops are planted based on available nutrients. Moreover, the analysis helps to identify mineral deficiencies in a field, which can be increased to meet plant needs. Understandably, soil testing is a technical exercise, with many farmers lacking the necessary information to make informed decisions. This guide outlines critical aspects during a soil testing exercise.
Soil Testing Philosophy
Soil testing is undertaken using different approaches, which fundamentally impact the results obtained. It is common to hear people complain that they receive different results after sending the same soil samples to various testing labs. The discrepancy is linked to the soil testing doctrine, with two common variants existing in the market. The first approach focuses on providing the necessary nutrients required by crops, while the second strategy prioritizes building and maintaining soil minerals. While each philosophy has its merits and demerits, you are better advised to choose the building and maintenance method since it ensures the right additives are provided to mitigate any deficiencies identified by the analysis.
The location of your farm influences the number of times soil testing should be done. If you live in a coastal area, you should have your soil tested once every two or three years since the rocks found in such areas are poor holders of nutrients. However, in areas characterised by loam or clay soil, testing should be done once in four years since the soils are less prone to changes, even when fertilizers are applied. That said, loam and clay soils have adequate nutrient retention capacity, which fosters consistency, thereby eliminating the need for regular soil testing. Nonetheless, you can still engage in soil evaluation regularly if you have the financial ability since it ensures that the right soil and crop additive are used in pursuit of better yields.
The type and quantity of nutrients found in a piece of land is a significant consideration during soil testing. Notably, two kinds of soil spectrums exist — one offers limited nutrients evaluation, while the other provides a comprehensive field analysis. The BS soil spectrum procedure evaluates all the twelve nutrients available to a plant, and it is popular among farmers. However, if you want a comprehensive status of your field, you should go for the BSE SOL spectrum since it permeates the chemical, biological and physical aspects of soil.