Understanding Soil Testing
Soil is a precious resource that needs to be managed carefully. Around 60% of crop yield or performance depends on soil fertility. Today in modern agriculture, Soil testing becomes the most important method to manage fertilizer application and crop production.
Soil Testing is the process of farmland analysis by using various parameters like chemical content, toxicity, Ph level, Salinity, earth-dwelling biota, etc. these types of tests also provide information on chemical contamination, humid or organic content, electric conductivity, cation exchange capacity, and other physical and chemical properties with the sample of soil. This is an important diagnostic tool for determining the nutrient for plants. This is an important diagnostic tool for determining the nutrient for plants.
In Agriculture, soil testing is performed to analyze the soil’s moisture level. This test is important for various reasons in agriculture, to optimize crop production, to protect the environment from contamination by runoff, and to improve the nutritional balance in the soil.
Objectives of Soil Testing
- Evaluate the fertility and nutrient status of the soil for providing the index of current nutrients available or supplied in the soil.
- Provides the reports of the soil and recommendation on the amount of manure and fertilizer based on the soil test value.
- Whenever the crops are harvested, that time a considerable amount of nutrients are removed from the soil and may cause loss of fertility in soil over a long time interval.
- Restoration of soil fertility is a key factor in crop productivity, profitability, and sustainability
Importance of Soil testing
This analysis leads to more informed fertilizer decisions, reducing risks in the soil and helping increase farm profitability in the long term.
It helps to Monitor soil Health properties such as pH, EC, and OC, which affect nutrient availability to crops and thereby yields and profitability.
It helps to provide a basis for variable rate application(VRT) Depending on soil and crop.
It also provides a farm management tool with the potential benefit to the farmer of increased yields and reduced operating costs and superior environmental risks management and also improved crop maturity and quality, higher tolerance to disease and pest damage, and increased growth.
This testing also reveals the amount of plant- availability of micronutrients in the soil also where the soil nutrients are in the soil profile.
Reasons why should farmers to test soil
As we have discussed earlier Today in the agriculture field soil testing is extremely important due to various reasons, about 60% of crops depend on soil fertility. To make the soil more fertile or to make the soil good quality we are required to do soil tests.
As a farmer, you need to do this soil testing on a regular basis.
- Gain more information about the soil condition and how to improve it:
Soil tests are used to determine the nutrient content and pH level of the soil. With this analysis the exact type and quantity of fertilizer that needs to be applied to improve soil fertility. Fertile soil is very necessary to grow healthy crops. Soil Fertility is determined by the chemical, physical, and biological properties of the soil.
- Minimize Fertilizer expenditure:
This method will reduce the expenses on unnecessary fertilizers this will recommend you the type and exact quantity of fertilizers your soil and crops needed.
- Identifies Contaminated Soils: This method not only addresses farmers’ concerns but also helps benefit the environment. Many Industries or residential/commercial properties discharge hazardous harmful chemicals into the soil or water. In such a situation, the land loses its fertility and becomes an environmental concern. To prevent these lands soil testing can be a great help, the procedures not only help in identifying what contaminating elements are present in the soil but also help in analyzing what measures should be taken.
- Improve Productivity of the Soil: A soil test lets farmers understand what amount of nutrients are already present in the soil and much extra is needed, also helps in increased uniformity of nutrient availability across the field for more uniform crop growth.