Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Soil is an integral part of agriculture which forms a base for all kinds of plants to grow. It provides structural stability to plants and retains and relinquishes water and essential nutrients for plant growth. But during recent modern agriculture days, due to the hyper use of Agrochemicals, soil health has deteriorated. Not given enough attention, as a result, the soil is getting unproductive with time. To avoid this situation one should be aware of soil health and how it is tested?
1. What is Soil Testing?
2. Why do we need to do Soil Testing?
3. When to take Soil Sample?
4. How to Take Soil Samples?
5. Where & how soil testing is done?
6. Immediate benefits of Soil Testing.
Soil Testing is the process of analyzing the soil sample to determine our soil's current fertility and health. It can be done by calibrating nutrient status, soil composition, acidity, and pH level of the soil.
Why do we need Soil Testing?
Soil is one of the most essential parts of our agriculture. It provides a life support system to plants by supplying the necessary nutrients required for their healthy growth. The crop yield largely depends upon the soil in which it grows. So, it is very important to analyze the soil before its cultivation. With soil testing, we can easily calibrate the nutrient status of the soil and in case of nutrient deficiency or toxicity, necessary steps can be taken.
When to take Soil Sample?
The right way to take soil samples is described below:
1. One should take a soil sample either before planting anything in the field or after harvesting the crop.
2. Before applying any organic or chemical fertilizers in the field.
3. Three months after application of organic or chemical fertilizers.
How to Take Soil Samples?
For testing, the soil should be taken from 15 different places in a zig-zag pattern.
Dig a 15 cm deep pit of ‘V’ shape using a shovel.
2. Now take a soil sample of 2 to 3 cm thick from one side of the pit.
3. Follow the same procedure for taking samples from 15 different places.
4. Next step is to clean the sample by removing garbage if present in the soil
5. Now mix all the samples thoroughly and make 4 equal parts of the mixed sample.
6. Further, mix 2 diagonally opposite parts and repeat it 4 to 5 times.
7. Now, take 0.5 kg of label sample for soil testing in the laboratory.
Do not take soil samples from the following areas:
Where cattle graze
Under a tree.
Where & how soil testing is done?
For testing soil, we take it to a soil testing laboratory, where a trained soil scientist performs various experiments to check the fertility of the soil.
In the laboratory, each sample is assigned an identification number, and then its quality is checked by making a paste using soil and water. After making paste the extract of the solution is separated from the solid portion for calculating pH, nutrient status, and soluble salt using various methods.
Visit https://www.shuruwaatagri.com/soil-test-land to find the nearest soil testing centers in your district.
Advantages of Soil Testing
1. Informs us about the current health of the soil and how can we improve it. Properties like soil texture, soil structure, and soil color are visible to our eyes but for diagnosing the chemical composition we need to go for soil testing. Soil tests determine the nutrient status and pH content of the soil. Armed with this information the application of the exact type and quantity of fertilizer can be done into the soil.
2. Minimise fertilizer expenditure After knowing the exact deficiency that our soil is experiencing, we will not waste our money in buying unnecessary fertilizers rather than, we will be able to apply the exact type and quantity of fertilizers. Moreover, in general, the supply of inorganic fertilizers and nutrients like phosphorus and potassium are very limited. Hence, we need to use them judiciously to prevent a future shortage.
3. Avoid Overfertilization Applying fertilizers recklessly without knowing the actual nutrient requirement of the soil can lead to toxicity. Fertilizer burn, chlorosis are some of the outcomes of over-fertilization. Prior testing of the soil and applying fertilizers as per the recommendation can prevent the soil from toxicity and yield reduction.
#overfertilization 4. Avoid Soil degradation Soil degradation is one of the most serious threats to every farmer. Estimations show that about 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are degraded every year due to a lack of proper soil management. Soil tests guarantee proper soil management followed by the application of the right amount of fertilizers at the right moment.
5. Feeding World’s Growing Population Since the current generation put more pressure on soil than before, the need for fertile soil to produce higher yield is necessary in feeding the World Growing Population. Soil testing is the first step towards soil management which can help farmers in providing valuable information regarding how to improve soil fertility to achieve higher yield.
Well, all we can interpret is soil testing is a very useful and inexpensive soil management tool that can be used by farmers to assess crop nutrition levels. Its importance has been there into existence since early years. Different types of soils and their variation in chemical and physical properties are the important determinants that must be known to the farmers. And these can be early determined with the help of soil testing.