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Soil Sampling Season!

Soil sampling season is upon us in some areas of the country and coming up soon in others. We get a lot of questions about when to pull a Haney test. Here's the low down...........

1. Establish your purpose

  • Reduce input costs

  • Fertility recommendations

  • Monitor microbial community health

  • Build a testing program

  • Be consistent in sampling

  • Be adaptable as your goals change

If you are wanting fertility recs, please sample 2 weeks prior to fertilizer application or purchase. If you are wanting to monitor soil health over time, sample at the same moisture and temperature conditions at generally the same time every year.

2. General Sampling How To

  • Typical depth of sampling is 0 to 6 inches. Can use other depths, but must include depth with sample. If you want a direct measurement of your improvement, you can take a 0-6" sample and a 6-12" sample. The upper depth represents your management zone and the 6-12" represents your baseline. You can also get subsoil nutrient recs as well using two depths.

  • 10-15 cores composited into one sample

  • Keep cool or near field soil temp - can be frozen for longer storage

  • Send to lab in plastic freezer bags or plastic lined paper soil bags

  • Samples can represent 40-100 acres depending upon soil variation, field size, and cropping system

  • Soil temp should generally be above 50 degrees F

If you have questions about soil testing and sampling or would like more information about the Haney test, please feel free to contact us at!

We exclusively use Regen Ag Lab in Pleasanton, NE for all of our soil testing.

You can find soil sampling instructions here!

1. Soil samples can be collected using a clean, rust-free probe, spade or shovel. A soil probe allows samples to be taken from an accurate depth. If using a spade or shovel, a furrow slice may be taken. Remove all vegetation and residue prior to sampling.

*Note: Use clean instruments and avoid the use of lubricants (i.e. WD-40) when sampling to prevent inaccurate results.

2. Collect a representative sample from areas that best represent the field average. Be sure to sample from areas with similar soil types, topographies and covers. Avoid problem areas that do not accurately represent your soil. We recommend a soil temperature at a minimum of 50° F.

*Example: If a field has three (3) predominate soil types in a ratio of 50%, 30%, and 20%, soil cores should be taken from those sites in similar ratios for a representative sample. This sample example can be used for topography and production.

3. Using a soil probe, insert the probe at a 90° angle, without twisting, to 6”. Twist a quarter of a turn then pull straight out. If the soil is clearly compacted more than 1” within the probe, remove the core and sample again. The probe does not need cleaned between sampling, unless the probe is clogged, or the soil is wet.

*Note: All samples must be taken from the same depth for proper interpretation

4. Combine at least six (6) cores for the area of interest. Thoroughly mix cores and send a subsample of two (2) cups in a plastic lined paper soil bag or plastic bag (i.e. sandwich bag, whirlpac, etc.)

5. Clearly label all the sample bags with unique identifiers provided by Topsoil. These labels must match the label names used on the submittal form and must indicate the desired test and sampling depth in addition to necessary customer information (Soil Regen and account number 138).

*Hint: Label bags using a Sharpie or pen prior to sampling to prevent labels from smearing.

6. Store samples in a cool and shaded location for a maximum of two (2) days or in the fridge for a maximum of two (2) weeks prior to shipping. If longer times are expected, store in the freezer.

*Note: Microbial activity can be strongly impacted if not properly stored.

7. Place all samples and submittal forms in a box and ship samples using a standard carrier. We recommend two (2) to three (3) day shipping.

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