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Soil Testing Resources

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We recommend taking a soil test from your pastures every three years and your hayfields every two. Without a test, there is no way to know if your field needs lime, potash, and/or phosphorous. The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides free soil sample kits to every Extension Center in the State, and you can often find them at local farm supply stores. If you measure your field in acres be sure that you are using the “farm” soil sample submission form and not the home gardener form. You can submit your form online. The page includes instructions for doing that. Samples taken incorrectly, may be thrown away by the lab and not sampled.

They also have information on how to collect a soil sample. Pasture samples only need to be 4″ deep and you don’t want any of the thatch/roots, etc. in that sample. Ensure that your hand writing is legible on the box and that it doesn’t smear if it gets damp.

After you submit your samples, you will need to mail them to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services soil testing lab in Raleigh. If you are not on a tight schedule, contact the Extension Center to see if April can deliver your samples for you April 1 through Thanksgiving. The lab charges a $4 per box fee from December through March, and they are free other months.

The NCDA&CS will email you the soil test results. If you can’t find that email, visit PALS to search for your soil test. If you need help interpreting your soil test report, contact your local Extension Agent.