August and September are common months for soil sampling as growers analyse their soils following harvest and before
planting the next crop.
“Increasingly soil sampling is becoming an all year-round activity rather than the traditional post-harvest peak, August and September however still remain the busiest months”, explains Rory Geldard from NRM. “We spend a lot of time at this point in the year discussing soil analysis tactics with growers, there are some common questions that come up”.
Key points to consider when planning post-harvest sampling:
1. Which fields to sample. Fields should be sampled every 3-5 years, so sampling one quarter of the farm each year
spreads the workload out evenly. Make a sampling plan around this, which fits into your crop rotation and manure applications.
2. How many samples to take within a field. As a general rule of thumb one sample should be taken for each area
you are going to manage. This area could be the whole field, a soil type zone, or each hectare. In larger fields we would recommend splitting the field down to get a more accurate picture, take a minimum of 1 sample every 5 hectares.
3. What to analyse for. The traditional default analysis has always been P, K, Mg & pH, but more and more professional growers see the value of adding analysis such as trace elements, organic matter, soil carbon or soil texture to this.
4. Have you got the right tools. Don’t forget you bucket and trowel! Soil corers are employed by many professional
samplers, enabling consistent sampling depth, but sampling to the appropriate depth can still be achieved with a traditional trowel.
5. Get prepared before entering the field. Make sure you speak to our customer support team so we can send you sampling bags, sample paperwork and delivery boxes. Remember it is always easier to write the labels on the sample bags before they have soil in them!
6. Make arrangements with your laboratory. Once you have completed the sampling, notify us and we will arrange our courier to collect these samples direct from your door.
7. If using a sampling partner, plan early. Being prepared and communicating your requirements to a sampling partner may mean sampling is done earlier, and you get results back more quickly. This will give you advantage of making timely decisions, and getting ahead at a busy time of the year.
8. Use the data! The proven benefits of accurate soil analysis can only be realised when the data is used. The value is
not in the numbers reported, but in the business decisions that can made.
FACTS qualified agronomists and arable advisors can advise on these topics and will be able to provide further advice specific to individual farm and crop situations.
“With so much happening on farm at this time of year, taking and submitting soil samples needs to be a smooth and easy process. Our focus has always been on delivering a high-quality service and first-class customer support. This focus starts from the point of taking samples and run all the way through to receiving results” comments Mr Geldard.
For more information or to discuss how we can help you achieve a smooth sampling process contact Rory on email@example.com or 07917 064591