Knowing the nutrient content and pH of your soil is essential in providing an environment for good crop growth.
Livestock producers, whether cattle, horses, or small ruminants, are really in the business of forage farming. Having grass or hay available to your animals is a large expense but is necessary for the health of the animals. Knowing what to plant and how to keep your pastures and hayfields productive is critical.
Soil testing is important in that it can reveal pH and fertility issues in pastures, fields, wildlife food plots and garden areas. The UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County Office provides soil sampling kits which allow you to mail your soil sample directly to the University of Florida's Soil Testing Laboratory for analysis. Drop by the office or contact us if you would like to receive a kit.
Collecting a representative sample of the area is the most important step in the entire process. Do not take a sample from an unusual spot as the results may come back skewed and not be indicative of the area that was tested.
To collect a soil sample, use a shovel or a trowel. Obtain a small amount of soil from 10 to 15 different spots over the area that you wish to test. Make sure to exclude any root or other plant debris as this may adversely influence the results. Mix all of the core samples together to make one representative sample.
Once the samples have been collected, air dry the soil on newspaper in the sun for a couple of hours before placing in the sample bag. Make sure to complete the information sheet, including your name, address, crop codes, and area designations.Place all of the materials in the provided box (including payment), and mail to the soil lab in Gainesville. A computer generated analysis should be mailed to you within approximately 2 weeks. A routine soil test will check the pH, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium levels in the soil and costs $7.00.