Why use the guidelines?
Sampling plans should vary based on what you’re looking for. This could be:
- predicting what and how much nutrients the crop needs
- monitoring soil fertility over time
- diagnosing a nutrient deficiency or toxicity
- compliance with environmental standards
- a combination of the above.
The Fertcare® soil sampling guidelines will help you develop a fit-for-purpose sampling plan to get the right samples for the job at hand.
Accurate fertiliser advice
Without soil and plant testing, crop nutrition is best guess. Accurately collecting soil samples is essential for evidence-based fertilizer recommendations. The amount of soil sent to the lab represents about 0.00001% of the field soil being assessed. Variable soil test results and fertilizer advice can often be traced back to sampling errors or different sampling techniques.
Figure 1. How much soil is actually analysed at the lab for some chemical testing. Source: A guide for ‘fit for purpose’ soil sampling
What’s in the guidelines?
The guidelines include advice on:
- when to sample
- where to sample, including approaches for areas with fertilizer banding
- getting representative samples
- dealing with atypical areas and areas to avoid
- how to collect samples
- sampling depths
- sampling equipment
- submitting samples to labs and quarantine issues.
The guidelines also include a soil sampling checklist.
Who should use the guidelines?
These guidelines are for growers and advisors who collect soil samples to give fertilizer advice. They are part of the Fertcare B and C training resources and the sampling section of the Fertcare Accredited Advisor Performance Standards.