Selecting the correct sample submission form
The FAS Agricultural Laboratory provides a wide variety of agricultural analyses that target better management of your soil and crop. Each suite of analysis uses specific methods, extractions and interpretations to ensure accurate and reliable recommendations are made. However, when samples are submitted with the incorrect forms or have incorrect information filled in, the resulting FAS analysis may not be what was expected and the interpretation of the results will be incorrect. It is thus CRITICAL that the appropriate form be used for your intended analysis. The available forms are:
- Soil fertility analysis: Used for routine fertility determinations (N, P, K, other nutrients and fertiliser recommendations) and acidity (lime and gypsum for top and subsoil acidity recommendations).
- Salinity and sodicity analysis: Used to asses if the soil profile is saline or sodic and provide gypsum recommendations – normally used in irrigated regions and some valley bottom sites. No fertiliser recommendations can be made from salinity/sodicity analysis.
- Leaf analysis: Used to measure the status of plant nutrients in the leaf material of the crop. This can be used to guide adjustments to future fertiliser recommendations based on how the crop is responding.
- Irrigation water quality analysis: Used to assess the amount of salts in irrigation water and the likely risk of causing saline or sodic conditions in the soil.
- Fertiliser analysis: Used to determine the amount of total nutrients in different types of fertiliser, organic amendments or liming materials. This can be used to help with calculating fertiliser rates, but does not indicate how much of the material to use.
All forms have headings to indicate their intended use, so check that this matches your intended purpose for the sample. If in doubt contact FAS or your SASRI Extension or Research Specialist. These forms can be downloaded from here or obtained from FAS or your regional Extension Specialist.
Reminder to sample
For growers that have harvested recently or intend to replant this coming spring, it is a good time to look at getting your soil sampling completed and submitted for analysis. This will allow time for the sample analysis results to be returned to you and the fertiliser requirements can be determined. If you are replanting it is also ideal to evaluate your soil acidity status (or salinity/sodicity status in the irrigated regions) and apply corrective actions before planting.
Previous studies have shown that the major source of error in sample analysis is due to inappropriate sampling procedures in the field. For guidance on proper soil sampling procedures see Information Sheet 7.16: Soil Sampling (available from the SASRI website on the Knowledge Hub page). If you are uncertain and require further assistance contact your regional SASRI Extension Specialist.