Test Soil Now to Avoid New Peak-Season Testing Fee

Posted On April 19, 2021— Written By and last updated by

In today’s economy, consumers are always looking for ways to save money. One of the most practical ways to save money is to have your soil tested. Soil testing is a service provided by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at their Agronomic Division in Raleigh.

For farmers, soil testing is the first step in planning an economical and environmentally sound fertilization program. The efficient use of nutrients can help reduce fertilizer costs and environmental concerns without reducing yield or quality. This requires a well-planned fertilization program based on soil sampling, wise selection of nutrients based on needs and costs, and proper application of fertilizers. For homeowners, soil testing takes the guesswork out of maintaining the soil in optimum condition for plant growth and development.

A soil test will access the present levels of major plant nutrients, soil pH, and micronutrients. Recommendations will include the amounts of lime and fertilizer, if necessary, to meet the requirements of the specific plant or crop being grown.

Collect samples three to six months before planting time. Taking good samples, filling out paperwork properly, and packaging samples for delivery in a well-organized manner are important.

Soil testing will be free starting April 1 through November 30 for soil samples. Fees for other specific tests including plant tissue analysis, solution analysis, and nematodes will remain the same. These fees are being implemented to encourage more growers to sample early and for improvements to the agronomic lab such as new equipment, additional peak-season personnel, and computer-programming enhancements. So, it is very important to get your samples to Raleigh by November 30, to avoid the fees of $4.00 per sample.

Soil sample boxes and forms can be picked up at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Sampson County Center, 55 Agriculture Place, 421 South of Clinton. Samples can be mailed to the lab in Raleigh or dropped off at the Extension Center where they will be delivered to Raleigh. Extension agents can also assist you in interpreting the soil test results or developing a soil treatment plan.

Remember, having your soil tested before planting gives you the opportunity to increase your yields on the farm or improve your landscape around the house.

For more information, or to register, please contact James Hartsfield, Extension Area Small Farm Agent, at 910-592-7161, by email at James_Hartsfield@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T State Universtiy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Written By

James Hartsfield, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionJames HartsfieldArea Agent, Small Farm Management--A&T State Call James Email James N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center
Updated on Apr 19, 2021
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