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How to take a soil sample

The results of a soil analysis can be no better than the sample you submit. The idea is that the sample must be representative of the field.


a) Make a rough map of your farm dividing it into areas that are distinctly different in appearance, crop growth or past treatment (fertilizer, cropping, liming, or manuring). Mark areas or fields for which information is required with a number and place the same number on the sample bag from that area. Small areas within a field that differ from the surrounding field should be omitted or submitted as a separate sample.

b) Take 20 to 30 small cores or slices of soil extending from the surface to plow depth (2inch depth for established pastures or tree crops). These cores should be collected from random sites over the entire area to be represented by the sample (generally not more than 12 to15 acres per sample). Cores should be placed in a clean plastic bucket.

c) Thoroughly mix the sample in the bucket before taking out enough to fill the sample bag to the line indicated. Thorough mixing is extremely important,

d) Avoid sampling fertilizer bands, terrace channels, dead furrows, roads and other unusual areas.

e) Fill out the information requested as accurately as possible and send sample to your ASI representative.


Example of a field map