There are some soil tests which don't need any technical kit. Digging holes, counting worms and burying underwear can all give you useful insights. But for more detail, you'll need to send off for professional soil tests and this can get pricey.
Many of our field labs have included soil testing in their funding applications, which is one way to find out more for free. But we've also just heard from SoilEssentials, that they're looking for farmers with fields they would like sampled. So, if your soil fits the bill, you can get testing for free.
What they're looking for:
- Soil in three type categories: Sandy, Sandy Clay Loam and Clay Loam.
- Fields that are prone to flooding.
- Winter combinable crops.
- Stubble fields for winter sampling that have had Potatoes or a root crop in the rotation in the past 3 years.
- In addition, they're looking to sample in February over winter wheat crops, any other soil type in addition to the above, ideally before any top dressing of fertiliser has been applied.
- They are particularly interested to hear from farmers in the West Midlands, and those near or using anaerobic digestate.
What they're offering free of charge:
- pH tests
- Nutrient tests
- Carbon percentages for 6 areas of the field
- At some point in time there may be nematode information
Anyone interested should contact Alison Easson directly on firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 01356 650459