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Why soil testing is important before anything else on your farm

By Grace Chomba

 

A farmer carrying out a soil test. Grace, Standard.

Soil testing is the process of taking samples of the soil in different areas in your farm and taking it to a lab to know the exact nutrients it contains and also the soil pH. It plays a vital role in the growth of healthy plants that will give you higher yields.

Soil testing will help you know the available nutrients in the soil and determine the kind of fertilizers to use during farming. It will also help you identify specific crops to cultivate on different soils, since different soils support growth of different plants. 

Increase yields

Tested soils will help you be in a position to achieve higher crop yields and maintain healthy crops in your farm. The experts will help you identify infected soils and pests and diseases affecting your plants. This information will help you improve soil health to produce healthier crops. We all know that healthy crops lead to increased production. This implies that improved soil health you will get more crop production and hence increased profits.

Optimize crop production

Soil testing aids in helping you be able to define the number of fertilizers and the exact nutrients needed to improve your soil fertility. Despite other requirements that help improve the growth of healthy crops, knowing the specific nutrients required for improved crop production is key. The farmer can be in a position to make use of the information collected about the farm soil and have a value addition idea of improving the crop yields.

Protect the environment from contamination by runoff and leaching of excess fertilizers 

This helps you to avoid soil degradation that is mainly caused by the loss of fertile topsoil due to water or wind erosion and depletion of nutrients. It is triggered by mono-cropping, poor manuring, excessive irrigation, overgrazing, adverse weather, unbalanced soil management, and misuse of fertilizers. Through soil testing, one will be able to know the right amounts of fertilizers to apply.

 Aid in the diagnosis of plant culture problems

A soil test can prevent negative environmental effects that are caused by excess use of fertilizers and poor farming methods that are harmful to the soil and affects the crops growth. Mono-cropping consumes nutrients available in the soil. Soil testing helps determine the soil nutrients level present that will sustain crop growth.

By having in mind the exact nutrients in your soil, one can reduce wastage of farm inputs. This will help them be on the lookout of fertilizer usage. It will help you save money that could have been used to buy certain fertilizers to increase nutrients levels that are already present in the soil.

Soil testing can help you identify the type of crops that will thrive in your farm and avoid frustrations that happen in the farms. You will know how much fertilizer is needed for crops to grow since some thrive well in acidic, neutral or alkaline soils. It is a crucial exercise to improve your crop yields for both small scale and large scale farmers.

 

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