Soil Testing

Soil Testing

When soil testing we use the pH scale which measures the acidity and alkalinity of the soil.

pH Scale big
Please click on diagram to enlarge.

The optimum pH reading for grassland is between 6.5 and 6.8 to make nutrients available.

The table below shows at which pH level the nutrients become available.

Please click on diagram to enlarge.

The pH reading from the soil can be used as a guide as to how much lime is required to be spread on the land.

The correct pH balance in the soil is incredibly important when growing crops or grassland as without this the vital nutrients in the soil cannot bind together and therefore will not be active so the growth and quality of the grass will be below its optimum potential.

All plants need a sufficient amount of essential macronutrients and micronutrients for healthy quality growth. Not only do they need these essential nutrients they also require them to be balanced.

Even though there maybe ample nutrients in the soil if there is an imbalance this will impede the plants nutrient uptake effecting the growth and quality of the grass and therefore the nutrients that reach the grazing animals.

Imbalances within the soil can be a result of previous fertiliser practice, over application of nutrients or naturally occurring nutrients in the soil.

The nutrient availability, soil organisms and soil pH are all linked and all affect the growth and health of grassland and the animals that graze on it.

To help balance the pH in the soil granulated lime can be spread on the land having an immediate effect.

Lime can be spread on various types of land. The amount of lime required varies with the type of soil and can be spread across the entire field or used to spot treat problem areas.

The amount of fertiliser spread on the land and the efficiency of if it is dependent on the pH of the soil. In order to gain maximum efficiency from the fertiliser correct and fast pH adjustment is recommended.

Fertiliser is an expensive product; the table below shows how the pH level affects the efficiency of the fertiliser.

Fert pH
Please click on diagram to enlarge.

If you look at pH 5.5 in the table above as an example between 52% and 23% of the fertiliser used is wasted because the pH is not the correct balance.