By analysing a soil, farmers can get a much better understanding of the composition of their cultivated land. Knowledge of the elements contained in the land is essential for a proper management of fertilizers which can be very often selected without a prior analysis of the soil composition. This could be dangerous for the soil and yields as well as for the environment. Fertilizing the soil with too many elements which it does not need at a given moment may lead to pollution of the environment. The elements which the soil does not adopt are washed out and often land in local rivers, polluting them and accelerating the growth of vegetation contained in the rivers.
What is the purpose of a soil analysis?
A soil analysis is an easy and effective way to increase production efficiency. Fertilizers and chemicals are becoming less expensive as the tests allow to accurately estimate a proper amount of products which need to be purchased. Therefore, money is better spent and the soil receives the nutrients which it needs. The analysis is a key phase in a nutrients management. This is always worth remembering.
In agriculture as well as in other areas of life we can and even we should remember about the so-called Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. This is one of the fundamental rights of classical ecology which shows that the factor which is in the least amount (minimum) has a limiting effect on the body. <wiki> But what does it mean in principle? If we want to use fertilizers, we cannot replace a deficiency of one ingredient with another. It’s very simple! When we fertilize the soil with nitrogen and at any given moment (apart from nitrogen) it has a phosphorus deficiency, the latter deficiency will cause that in the final result we will not get the effects that we expect.
The crop efficiency is limited by the most deficient nutrients. It should be noted that a limiting nutrient is not changeable.
So why do we analyze it?
- To prevent problems
- To ensure an efficient production process
- To check if the crop is in a proper condition
- To find reasons for problems (e.g. deficiency symptoms) which are found in the field
- To protect the environment
How to conduct a proper soil analysis?
It is very important that the sample is representative. However, what exactly does it mean? Please have a look at the following infographics:
A random soil sampling is a traditional approach that works in homogeneous fields with a little variation. It is worth taking the samples for testing according to one of the two methods listed below.
- Each grid is a sample
- It also works in the fields with a smaller diversity
- Each zone is a sample
- If there are greater differences in the field, they should be subdivided according to the type of the soil and the conditions allowing for a separate management
This article is based on the presentation: Viktoria Vona Agronomy of the scanner. AgroCares.