The KSU Soil Testing Lab is a full service lab providing excellent service to agriculture producers. If you are a producer who is wanting to test their soil, we encourage you to bring a sample into the office, and we will send it directly to the soil lab at Kansas State University. Once we have the results, we will analyze them and make recommendations. There is a wide range of analyses available at the Kansas State University Soil Testing Lab, the most common are pH, Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Nitrate (NO3), and Organic Matter.
How to Collect a Soil Sample
Sample accuracy is extremely important, because it determines test result accuracy. Follow these steps to obtain a good sample.
You will Need:
Auger or Spade
Soil Sample Information Sheet (PDF) - Can also be picked up at the Extension Office
Soil Sample Containers
Draw a map of the area to be sampled on the information sheet and divide your fields into uniform areas. Each area should have the same soil texture, color, slope, and previous fertilization and cropping history.
From each area, take a sample consisting of 20 to 30 cores or slices, mix thoroughly in a clean container, and then fill your soil container from this mixture. All row crops should be sampled to 6 to 8 inch depth and all permanent sod to 4 inches. If the available nitrogen, chloride, or sulphur tests are desired, a subsoil sample to 24 inches is necessary.
On fields that have been reduced-tilled or no-tilled for several years, a split sample from the top 6 or 8 inches (i.e. 0 to 3 inches and 3 to 6 inches) is encouraged to assess pH and nutrient stratification near the surface.
Caution: For the zinc test collect soil samples in a plastic container to avoid contamination from galvanized buckets or material made of rubber.
Avoid sampling in old fence rows, dead furrows, low spots, feeding areas, and other areas that might give unusual results. If information is desired on these unusual areas, obtain a separate sample from the area.
Be sure to label the soil container plainly and record the numbers on the soil container and the information sheet.
Air dry samples as soon as possible for the nitrogen test. Air drying before shipment is desirable, but not essential for all other tests. Do not use heat for drying.