If you are in agriculture, you want to make sure your soil is healthy. You also want to make sure your activities don't damage the soil or affect the surrounding environment. The best way to know what is going on with your soil is with soil testing.
Soil tests have many functions. However, their main goal is to ensure your activities have a neutral effect on the environment while producing excellent crops. Here are some things to know about soil testing and how it can benefit you as a farmer.
Why Test Soil for Agricultural Use?
Agriculture is a serious business that depends on the health of your soil. When it has a problem, you may have issues with your crops. Soil testing can inform you about nutrients as well as contaminants. Some contaminants affect human health, so you would not want them in the food supply.
In addition, soil testing can protect the surrounding environment. Soil tests can determine if you have excess organic matter or chemicals. If any of these leech into the waterways, they can cause problems. For example, many fertilizers can contribute to excess algae growth. Certain metals can leach into groundwater and affect human and animal health.
What Types of Tests Are Good For Farmland?
Soil tests for farmland come in several different types. Some companies break these tests down further or call them by other names. Here are some examples.
These tests tell you how many metals you have in your soil. Some metals, like zinc, copper, and iron, are found naturally in soil. Others, like lead, may indicate a problem.
The pH test will help you determine which crops to plant. Many crops prefer a specific pH range for maximum results.
Nutrients and Fertilizers
These tests will give you a breakdown of nutrients that could affect your crops. Common tests include nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and lime. The right balance for your crop type is important.
Chemical analysis can give you an idea about any chemicals that affect the health of your soil. For example, it can tell you about pesticide or herbicide residue.
You should test your soil about every three to five years or whenever you notice problems with your crops. You should also test the soil of any land you are purchasing or are planning to plant. Soil testing can give you an idea of the health of your land and its limits. If you need to know more about this process, talk to a soil testing service for more information.