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Soil Sampling

Randy: Hello. I’m Randy Chlapecka with the Jackson County Extension Service. I’m County Extension Agent in Jackson County. today we’re here at the Newport Research Station and we’re going to talk about soil sampling. Number one, you need to have a good soil sampling probe. I’ve got one here in my hand. this is a real basic probe. there are a lot of other probes out there that have a lot of other features on them that might make them a little more easy to use. they can do some other things, but this is a very basic one. shop around, look in catalogs, online and you can find the best soil probe for your situation.
The second thing we need to think about is the timing of taking the soil sample. obviously probably the best time of the year to do that would be during the fall and winter march, between harvest of the previous crop and planting of the next crop. anywhere in that September to October range all the way up till about March is probably the best time of year to take soil samples. one key thing to remember, if you’re sampling a field, try to take a sample from that particular field at the same time every time you sample, whether it’s a three year cycle or whatever you’re sampling on.
make sure you take that sample at the same time of year if possible. Of course weather can dictate that, but try to take it at the same time of the year. also following the same crop in that rotation. for example if you’re in a rice/bean rotation, take it after one of the other crops every time that you’re taking the soil sample. that’s really important. another thing to remember and to keep in mind is take samples from the proper sampling depth. for soya beans, we recommend zero to four inch sample. Make a mark on your soil probe at about four inches or some probes even have washers welded on them or something like that to get that proper depth.
remember, take your samples from zero to four inches for soya beans. finally, base your intake about 15 to 25 cores to make a composite sample. research has shown that you need at least 15 cores to make one good composite sample. somewhere in between 15 and 25 cores and you’ll have your goods composite sample. soil sampling is a free service through the cooperative extension service. the samples are tested down at Marianna at the soil testing lab there. we have soil boxes available at each county extension office in the state. if you need more information or have questions, feel free to contact your county extension agent or you can go online to www.uaex.edu.