Soil Sampling, The Foundation of Good Farming

14th November 2019

Pictured: Seth Mathers - Fane Valley Agronomy & Forage Services

While we all know the potential benefits of soil sampling, we also know how easy it is to put it off until another day. With the busy nature of farming and the long winter nights, getting time to take the samples is often difficult and can tend to slip down the list of things to do.

With the upcoming changes to the Nutrient Action Programme (NAP), it has never been more important to be prepared. A ‘valid soil analysis needs to be taken in advance’ of any nutrient applications such as slurry, digestate or fertiliser in order to keep within the regulations.

Here at Fane Valley, through our Agronomy and Forage team, we have years of experience taking soil samples. With a quad bike and automatic sampler, our sampling service takes the backache out of sampling and provides consistent samples, ensuring representative results for your farm. The soil sample result is only ever as good as the soil sample taken, and we pride ourselves on our ability to take timely, consistent and accurate samples within what is sometimes a challenging window of opportunity.

Each sample should be on an individual field basis (10 acres max), and contain 20 individual cores to a depth of 10cm taken across the field in a random W pattern.  All we need to carry out your sampling is a farm map with the field name/number, and the current and future cropping history of the fields, and our staff will do the rest.

It is important that samples are accurate, and the following parameters are adhered to:

1. Only sample 2 years after bulk liming.

2. Allow at least 8 weeks between fertiliser applications. (N,P & K)

3. Wait 8 weeks after slurry/Manure application.

Failure to allow a sufficient gap after nutrient application can give results with higher PH, P and K figures than is actually the case.

Having the analysis is only the first part, the information needs to be read, understood and acted upon, in order to produce a Fertilisation Plan tailored to your farm.

Fane Valley Agronomy and Forage specialists are BASIS and FACTS qualified and can provide crop specificadvice and efficient fertiliser plans based around the soil analysis and individual crop requirements, on  your farm to help achieve maximum yields whether for grass or cropping.

From an agronomic and legislative basis, soil sampling should be completed at least every 4 years, and represents a cost of less than £0.50 per acre per year for a standard soil sample, additional tests can be carried out as required. 

Payback in terms of efficiency and production is potentially huge, benefiting you, your farm and the environment.

For more information or to book your soil sampling contact the Agronomy and Forage office on 028 9261 0485 or your local Fane Valley Agronomy and Forage Specialist.