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SOIL & LEAF ANALYSIS - Why
A soil analysis program will provide important and essential
information on the soils nutritional status, which enables
decisions of fertiliser and micronutrient applications to maximise
the quantity and quality of crop yields.
A comprehensive measurement of available levels of macro and
micronutrients such as nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium,
sodium, phosphorus, sulphur, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron,
molybdenum and chloride in addition to pH, conductivity etc are
available to assess the nutritional status of the soil and plant.
It is recommended that a comprehensive soil test regime be
performed at least once every 2 years to determine your soils
nutritional status. Leaf tests should be performed every year
in January. If possible in one year take samples every month
to establish a Nutrient usage pattern.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The importance of
plant and soil sampling should never be underestimated. The
analysis and interpretation information you will receive is highly
dependant on the sampling strategy used. The following information
will assist you in collecting appropriate samples prior to
submitting them for laboratory analysis.
SOIL SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS - Designing your sampling
The degree of non-uniformity of soil type present in each
paddock will influence your sampling strategy (i.e. sample numbers
and locations), so it is important to consider these aspects when
establishing your soil-sampling plan.
As a general rule:
Ø Paddocks of up to 10ha in area can be
sampled as one unit, providing each field is uniform in terms of
soil type, topography, land use, crop variety and fertiliser
Ø Larger paddocks (i.e. greater than
10ha) will generally be less uniform and as such should be
subdivided and each part sampled separately. You will need a clean
auger, hand trowel or spade (preferably chromium plated or of
stainless steel) and a plastic bucket.
NOTE - Do not collect samples
immediately after lime, gypsum, fertiliser (or other chemical)
applications to the soil. Also avoid collection of roots and leaves
when collecting soil samples.
Individual soil samples should be taken along a carefully
planned route across the paddock. The 'W-pattern' sampling plan
(see figure below) is adaptable to most shapes of field.
Identify a start position and move way from this point,
avoiding all areas which are not representative of the paddock such
as fences, hedges, tracks, dung/urine patches etc. We recommend at
least 20 samples be taken at regular intervals along this sampling
path. Around 20 samples are required even from small paddocks or
At each of the 20 sampling points, remove the top 5cm (2")
of soil and discard. Take a sample to a depth of 15cm (6") for
arable, or 7.5cm (3") for grassland and place in a bucket.
Thoroughly mix all samples with your trowel, avoiding spillage.
Fill the provided Phosyn sample bag with soil from the bucket, and
seal securely. Label the bag. As a general guide, a ¾ filled bag
will weigh about 500g, which is sufficient for a comprehensive soil
test. Remember, that wholesale bulking of samples, especially
of different soil types will not allow the identification of
problems associated with more localised spots on the paddock. It is
recommended that these areas be sampled separately.
NOTE - the sampling depths above are
included only as a general guide and you may decide to sample at a
deeper level as dictated by the crop root depth.