Did you know that a pH test from your soil could be the biggest clue in identifying if your soil has a problem? How can you as a grower solve that problem? Understanding your pH is an important key to solving your problems in soils because it directly affects nutrient availability. A comprehensive soil analysis from a reputable lab could be the biggest clue to identifying imbalances in your crops. Soil and water analysis reports are a grower’s best guide to an effective farm management strategy, and for the production of high yields and high quality crops.
Soil tests are important to growers for several reasons. One, soil tests can help optimize crop production, to protect the environment from contamination by runoff and leaching of excess fertilizers. Soil tests are essential for determining a soil’s fertility levels, which can help aid in the diagnosis of plant/crop problems. Lastly, testing can help you improve the nutritional balance of the soil resulting in an increase of crop yields. By knowing what nutritional deficiencies are really needed, growers can save money by reducing the production cost while achieving high crop yields.
Soil samples can generally be taken at any time of the year; however, there are some limitations that can hinder the results. Although samples can be taken anytime of the year, it is best practice to avoid taking samples where fertilizers have recently been applied. When taking a soil sample it must also be noted to avoid unusual areas; such as corners, edges of former fields or fence rows that are now in the field. Always remember to remove all residue before taking a soil sample core.
For best practices and consistent results over years growers should always sample during the same season and to have soil core samples pulled from the same locations every 3-5 years. For more accurate analysis it is also best to sample areas that differ separately.
When handling soil samples it is highly recommended to mix all area samples thoroughly this will allow for the the nutrients in the soil to best accurately be analyzed. If your samples are wet or moist make sure to air dry the soil before packaging the sample in a clean bucket or bag. For best practice it is best to avoid the use of galvanized or rubber buckets when collecting samples because samples may be contaminated with zinc.
Common tools used when collecting soil samples include a, Soil Probe, Auger, Spade Shovel, or a Hydraulic Probe. When collecting samples from tillage the top 6 inches are generally sampled. If the field has not been tilled a sample ranging from 3-4 inches deep are sufficient. Remember, it is important to always take core samples from a field at the same depth for consistency and accuracy over time.
You cannot have an effective nutrition program without taking water quality into account! Irrigation water is just as important as the soil that you grow your crops in.
Soils will tend to take on the characteristics of your irrigation water. Ideal irrigation water, with a pH less than 7, allows nutrients to remain in the soil solution so that they are available for your crops. Nutrients are only available to your crops when they are dissolved in the soil solution.
Not knowing how to fix the water issue can cause you to lose money. Call us to find out how we can help grow profitable crops.
After taking the necessary samples from the field or home garden expect results within 7-14 business days.
Have your soil and water test performed by one of America’s oldest reputable facilities, Brookside Laboratories.
Without navigation software we are able to precisely mark and sample soil from the same location year after year.
We’ll provide the results in the and interpret the numbers into a simplified manner that is easy to read.
pH is a measurement that allows us to see the acidity or Alkalinity of a solution. The pH scale runs from zero (0) having the most Acidic levels to fourteen (14) which has the highest Alkaline levels. Lower pH levels are preferred for certain ornamental plants while a neural pH is suitable for most other applications. The pH of soil is important because it directly impacts nutrient availability and beneficial microbial activity.
Acidity = When Soil is less than 7.
Alkalinity = When Soil is greater than 7.
Knowing your soil's pH can help determine if your field is too acidic or if the alkaline levels are too high; therefore, allowing you as a farmer to take proper action by amending the soil.
Both soil pH and water test are essential and recommended for best results when looking into amending your soils. A pH alone is not proof of the water's alkalinity levels. Having both a soil and a water test can help determine missing nutrients in the soil which will help determine what materials are needed to balance your soil.
Generally, water for irrigation should have pH levels between 5 and 7. Whereas, as those solutions that are at 7.0 pH are neutral on the pH scale. Waters with pH levels greater than 7.0 pH are known as, Basic in other words "Alkaline"; whereas, waters that fall below the 7.0 pH neutral levels are Acidic.
Testing and knowing the soil and water's pH levels can in time save you more money. Knowing your pH levels can allow you to identify soil necessities and directly find a solution to any problems your crops might be having. By addressing any nutrient deficiencies early in the crop's growth process and regular testing at least two to three times a year, you can save money by only getting the supplements needed and avoiding all the guessing work of what they might be needed to balance your soils.
Soil pH is a measurement of soil acidity or alkalinity. pH is important because it can help indicate whether you have unhealthy or healthy soil. When soil pH levels are too high or too low it can lead to deficiency in nutrients, decline in microbial activity, decrease in crop yield and decline of soil health. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur appears to be some of the least affected nutrients by the soils pH. View the chart above to see how the soil's pH affects the availability of Plant Nutrients, an optimal pH range for soil lands within 6.2 to 7.3 pH.
Check out the article by Vern Johnson, below which explains the importance of soil reports and how balancing your soils can be the difference for better results in your crops.