Soil Testing

Why test?

Over 200,000 soil samples are analyzed in Wisconsin each year, and the results of these tests guide Wisconsin farmers in the use of lime and nutrient applications. The appropriate use of lime, fertilizer, manure and other nutrient sources significantly increases Wisconsin farm income. Just as importantly, following nutrient application guidelines prevents over-application of nutrients. This, in turn, enhances profitability and reduces the potential for environmental degradation.

Soil Lab Brochure

LAWN AND GARDENS

Here is what you should do:

  1. Take a soil sample from your garden or lawn. Sampling Lawn & Garden Soils

(A soil sample is 1-2 cups of soil. The Price County UW Extension Office has wax-lined bags that you can use to put your soil sample in or you can simply use a Ziploc bag.)

2. Fill out the Lawn & Garden Submission Form and mail to the address on the bottom of form.

Routine test includes: pH, lime requirement, organic matter, phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) ($15)
Additional tests: Calcium and Magnesium ($3), Soluble salts ($7), Texture: Percent Sand, Silt, Clay ($23)

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WILDLIFE FOOD PLOT

Here is what you should do:

  1. Take a soil sample from your wildlife food plot. Sampling Soils for Testing

(A soil sample is 1-2 cups of soil. The Price County UW Extension Office has wax-lined bags that you can use to put your soil sample in or you can simply use a Ziploc bag.)

2. Fill out the Wildlife Food Plot Submission Form and mail to the address on the bottom of form.

Tests include: pH, lime requirement, organic matter, available phosphorus (P) and available potassium (K). ($15)

Special Soil Tests: Calcium/Magnesium, Boron, Manganese, Zinc, Sulfate. ($3 each) Special tests may be run on individual samples. Please list samples numbers next to special tests to be run.

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FARM/FIELD

Here is what you should do:

  1. Take a soil sample from your field. Sampling Soils for Testing

(A soil sample is 1-2 cups of soil. The Price County UW Extension Office has wax-lined bags that you can use to put your soil sample in or you can simply use a Ziploc bag.)

2. Fill out the Field, Vegetable & Fruit Crops Submission Form and mail to the address on the bottom of form.

Tests include: pH, lime requirement, organic matter, Bray-1 phosphorus (P) and Bray-1 potassium (K). ($8)

Special Soil Tests: Calcium/Magnesium, Boron, Manganese, Zinc, Sulfate. ($3 each) Special tests may be run on individual samples. Please list samples numbers next to special tests to be run.

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Analysis and Reporting

Your soil test report will provide an accurate index of the level of available nutrients in the soil; indicate the degree of nutrient deficiency that may exist for the various crops grown; suggest how the deficiency might be corrected; and provide the results in a meaningful way so that you can make the appropriate decision as to what nutrients to add.

Your sample will be analyzed for pH, organic matter, available phosphorous (P) and available potassium (K). Based on the results of your test and what you told us you wish to grow in the sample area, we will tell you if you need to add nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) or potassium (K) to achieve your goal of growing these plants. We will provide you with the pH of your soil and advise you on whether or not you should lime your soil. We will also provide you with the percent of organic matter which is currently in your soil.
Some common additional tests are as follows: lead, soluble salts, or physical analysis. Other tests include the secondary nutrients: calcium, magnesium, or sulfur, or the micronutrients boron, manganese, and zinc.

Understanding your Soil Analysis

Call Price County UW Extension with any questions 715-339-2555 or visit the UW Soil and Forage LAB for more information.