What is soil sampling?
Soil sampling is the process of taking a small sample of soil, which is then sent to a lab to determine the nutrient content. The soil can also be tested for the chemical, physical and biological properties, which are critical to plant nutrition. Basic plant nutrition requires the presence of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – soil sampling can also determine the pH levels of the soil alongside humus content, available lime, complete sulphur content and total CaCO3.
The analysis of the soil is carried out by taking samples of the soil and performing laboratory tests, which is then followed by an interpretation of the results. Further recommendations for fertiliser and soil preservation can then be provided.
What is the benefit of soil sampling?
There are a number of key benefits of soil sampling, which include;
Determining the levels of available nutrients currently present in the soil. This can allow the farmer to then consider adding more nutrients to the soil as well as more accurately determining which crops would yield the best growth in that particular soil.
Precision agriculture relies on practices such as soil sampling, which allows producers to sample separate areas of the field to determine factors such as soil type and topography and in order to characterize nutrient levels.
Grid sampling is one of the favourite methods for soil sampling and management, offering a reasonably easy way to facilitate the activity. The samples taken during grid sampling can then be used to create a map which contains soil test value.
How is soil sampling carried out?
AWSM Farming typically conduct soil sampling by accessing agricultural lands and fields on a quad bike. This allows us to more easily create a GPS soil map of your land, using our satellite-guided handheld GPS unit to accurately map the field. After this we are able to plot on the map, points where samples will be extracted, this will ensure that we extract a true representation of the soil.
We are then able to provide the farmer or landowner with a detailed map of soil samples from the area. This report includes the exact size of the field or areas surveyed, allowing them to more accurately alter cropping areas.
With this system, the farmer gets a detailed map of fields sampled, with exact field sizes which are very useful with all the field margins now altering cropping areas. We can also carry out stand ‘W’ shape samples of fields to gain a basic representation of nutrients.
All soil samples are sent away for independent laboratory analysis and results can be back within 10 days of samples been taken.