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SOIL Sampling - Essential Reading

on Tuesday, 07 January 2014. Posted in Blog, Tillage, Sheep, Dairy, Beef

SOIL Sampling - Essential Reading


The new year is here, Christmas is over and is back to business as normal. The slatted tanks are getting full of slurry and farmers are waiting hard on slurry spreading ban to be up.


With the slurry and fertiliser closed period coming to an end now is a good time to get your lands soil sampled as the lands have been free of slurry and chemical fertiliser for the correct period of time to get an accurate reading.



How to soil sample


This is done with a soil sampler which is placed into the soil at different locations in the field in the shape of a W. The soil is then placed into a bag or a box and sent  away to a registered Laboratory. Your agricultural advisor will come out to your farm and take the soil samples for you and will send away the samples to a designated laboratory

Soil samples can be taken on fields growing any crops and when the soil samples return your advisor can do up a Fertiliser plan tailored to the crop you are growing.



Soil Analysis


Farmers submit soil samples for laboratory testing for two main reasons

1.      Establish the available minerals present in the soil. This will enable the farmer and his adviser to determine the most appropriate fertiliser regime for the crop being grown.

2.      Compliance with regulatory requirements. These come from EU Directives that specify criteria such as pH value, Phosphorus index and Organic Matter content


The commonly tested in soil are:


PH, Lime requirement, Phosphorus and Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Boron.

Organic Matter levels




Does your land Need Lime.



Lime is necessary to correct soil acidity and facilitate healthy plant growth. Soil acidity is measured on the pH scale 0 to 14. The optimum Ph. for good grass growth is 6.3. Ryegrass and clover perform best at this Ph. and if it drops below this level it will lead to the establishment of poor unproductive grasses.

Lime promotes the activity of worms and soil micro-organisms in the soil and it increases the availability of the different nutrients to the plants. This makes chemical fertiliser work more effectively and with the high cost of fertiliser this is very important.  A small amount of lime every year is better than a lot in the one spreading.




Cost of taking a soil sample and Lime.



An average soil sample for Lime, P, and K will cost €20.00 plus vat and the more in depth ones will cost more. Lime is very cheap compared to the cost of fertiliser and an average price would be €20 per acre spread depending on the lime and the contractor etc.



Applying lime and slurry and Urea.

  • If you apply lime first then you have to wait 3-6 months before you apply slurry or urea
  • If you apply slurry or urea first then there is no problem when you apply lime

If you apply the lime first and then you apply slurry or urea it will cause ammonia volatilization which is a loss of money basically.


Contact our office today about getting your farm soil sampled before you apply your first slurry and fertiliser applications for the year,


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