Soil and Manure Testing

Directions on collecting soil samples

For nitrogen-based applications, collect separate soil samples at depths of 0 to 12 and 12 to 24 inches. For phosphorus-based applications collect soil samples at a depth of 0 to 12 inches only. A soil probe is the most efficient way to collect samples. Probes are available on loan from County Extension Agents. Collect a composite sample by combining a minimum of 8-10 samples taken randomly throughout a field in a plastic bucket. Mix the samples and send at least one pint to the lab for analysis. More than one composite may be needed for large or highly variable fields.


Directions on collecting manure samples

Since manure is a variable material, proper procedures must be followed to ensure a representative sample is collected. For liquids, sample directly from the storage structure, from the outlet pipe where liquid is removed, or from the field using catch cans to collect samples applied through sprinklers. When sampling liquids, collect a minimum of six separate subsamples. Combine the subsamples in a clean bucket, mix well, and transfer approximately one pint of liquid to a clean bottle or other rigid container.

For solids, remove the surface six-inch crust and use an auger or shovel to core into the pile. Take a minimum of six separate sub- samples from around the pile and combine them in a clean bucket. Mix well and transfer approx. one quart to a clean plastic bag. Keep all samples cool until they can be transported to a lab.