We’re often asked, “How do you take a sample properly?”. Since most agricultural organisations recommend that every farmer test their soil every 4-5 years if they want to increase crop field and lower fertiliser costs, it’s essential to know how to do it.
In this article, we will walk you through the 5 simple steps to getting tested.
Plotting the Land
Firstly, if you don’t have one already, get a map of their land. Plot out the map to highlight the different fields or plots. When the plots are set, get a soil corer and boxes from your Co-Op, Teagasc or Ag Advisor. You should fill one box for each field or plot, so mark each soil box with the field identity number.
Taking the Sample
The next step requires you to take a sample in each one of your fields or plots. Using the corner, fill the sample box with 28-30 cores in the shape of a W across your field, 7 for each straight line in the letter W. Walk 4-5 steps between taking each core. Take samples to a depth of 10 cm. Close each box.
Remember to avoid sampling if the ground is saturated or unusually dry, and avoid sampling around gateways, ditches and troughs.
Ordering Your Test with Southern Scientific
Log onto southernscientificireland.com and click on sample forms. Click “Sample Forms” and download our submission form for soils.
In the form, fill out your soil type, soil tests needed, details of cropping, contact details, Ag Advisor or Co-Op details and add your signature.
While you’re online, you can also pay for the samples online in advance of sending them. Under “Services”, click “Soil and Agricultural Material Testing”. Click on “Agricultural Soil”, and choose your needed suite.
At Southern Scientific, we group our tests into suites based on combinations of tests customers are likely to order.
For example, Suite One is a basic suite – pH, lime requirement, P and K. Whereas Suite eight is a more advanced suite, including pH, lime requirement, P and K and magnesium and organic matter
suitable for both grassland and tillage.
Read the test description before adding to the basket and completing your payment.
Send Your Samples to Southern Scientific
There are many ways for you to get your sample to us. You can send it by post, drop it in by hand or courier it to our laboratory at this address:
We will send you a confirmation email when your samples have been received.
Receive Your Results Promptly
Once we receive your samples, we will perform the requested tests at our ISO-accredited laboratories in locations around Ireland.
You will receive your results in a report format via email within ten working days. After that, you can discuss your results with your Agricultural Consultant, who will advise you on your fertiliser requirements or help you create a nutrient management plan if necessary.
Learn More About Your Soil’s Health
We will be discussing a new area every week. If you want to continue learning more about soil health, tune in next week when we will discuss 5 Preventable Factors Affecting Your Crop Yield.
What Southern Scientific Services Can Do For You?
Southern Scientific Services is Ireland’s largest private soil laboratory, processing over 60,000 soil samples yearly. We have everything you need to get started with soil testing.
If you’re interested in using Southern Scientific’s testing services with a fast and accurate turnaround, Southern Scientific offers a range of soil analysis suites.