A goal of sound nutrient management is to maximize the proportion of applied nutrients that is used by the crop (nutrient use efficiency). Soil sampling is a best management practice (BMP) for fertilizer management that will help improve nutrient use efficiency and protect the environment. Soil sampling is also one of the most important steps in a sound crop fertilization program.
A good soil testing program can be divided into four operations: (1) taking the sample, (2) analyzing the sample, (3) interpreting the sample analysis, and (4) making the fertilizer recommendations. Once you take a sample, you must send it to a laboratory for analysis. WSU maintains a database of labs, inclusion of a laboratory or consultant in this list does not imply any endorsement by WSU.
The Ferry County Extension office can provide a soil test probe for free checkout and informational brochures. The soil test labs generally charge $17 – $90 depending upon the test requested. After you receive your analysis, visit the WSU experts website for help interpreting the analysis and specific fertilizer recommendations. They have videos and publications with helpful advice including:
- How to collect soil samples
- Determining Soil Properties
- Soil Testing Laboratories
- Interpreting Soil Test Results
- General Soil Information