Know Your Soil: Hows and Whys of Soil Testing

Before the start of any crop cycle it is important for any farmer to know his soil quality well. Knowing the nutrient content of farm soil is the first step towards a proper farm management cycle. Every crop has a specific nutrient requirement, which is fulfilled through the soil. It is important for the soil to be rightly fertilized before the start of the crop cycle, as under or over fertilized soil will have a direct effect on the crop yield. Nutrient imbalances in the soil will also have an affect on the water quality and soil ecology of the farm.

Considering the degrading soil and water quality and increasing agricultural costs , farmers are largely relying on precision farming to move towards profitable farming. Soil Testing and Analysis are proving to be important tools for the farmer to implement precision farming

Timely done soil analysis proves to be very fruitful for the farmer. It not only minimizes the fertilizer expenditure but also limits over fertilization. Over fertilization apart from leading to over expenditure also degrades soil and affects subsequent crop yield.

Soil Analysis normally comprises of Soil pH, EC, quantitative analysis of macro (N,P,K), Secondary & micro nutrients (Ca, Mg, S, Mn, Fe, Bo etc.)

Every soil sample collected must be a true representative of the area being sampled. Lab analysis largely depends on the sampling precision. Soil sampling for soil analysis should be done at the rate of at least one sample for 2 hectares.
Soil collection for analysis is normally recommended between two crop cycles.

Guidelines for sampling depth:

Sr.No. Crop Soil sampling depth in (cm)
1 Rice, millet, groundnut,etc.(shallow rooted crops) 15
2 Cotton, sugarcane, banana, vegetables etc. (deep rooted crops) 22
3 Perennial crops, plantations and orchard crops Three soil samples at 30, 60 and 90 cm

Regular and timely soil analysis will always continue to be an important tool for farmers striving to optimize nutrients, yields and profitability.

Hope this was helpful. You can get your soil tested by putting in a request through our Kheti Buddy Farm application which is available on Google play store and App store.  To download our farm app click here