Soil Analysis Will Save You Money

Article excerpt

Byline: GEORGE MATHERS

INVEST in soil analysis and reduce the costs to you and the environment.

Never underestimate the value of nutrients in your soil. Soils could have a huge reservoir of valuable nutrients for plant growth. Soil analysis will help fully exploit these reserves, save money on fertiliser application and reduce pollution of waterways.

Standard soil analysis measures pH, phosphorus, potash and magnesium and costs about pounds 10 per sample. Grassland should be sampled every four- five years and, as each sample is sufficient for up to four hectares, this works out at less than pounds 1 per hectare per year, which is excellent value for money.

Soil analysis and nutrient management planning are an integral part of the Countryside Management Scheme, which provides assistance to cover the cost of soil analysis. To date, almost 10,000 soil samples have been analysed for farmers taking part in the Countryside Management Scheme. It is important to emphasise that for grassland a soil phosphate index of 2 is optimum for intensive production and an index of 1 is adequate for extensive production. The target for grassland is a potash index of 2.

The results show that 41 per cent of soils have too much phosphate. …