Soil & Herbage Testing

Soil Chemical Fertility

Why chemically test your soil? The advantages of soil testing are:

  • Results show pH which can influence nutrient availability
  • Results show levels of nutrients in the soil
  • Enables fertiliser programs to be targeted to soil and crop requirements
  • Saves money by applying only the fertilisers you need

Regular soil testing is a tool for understanding the nutrient status of your farm. We encourage annual testing of your soils nutrient status. It gives a good reference to how your soil is responding to past fertiliser application, climatic conditions and farm management practices. AB Lime consultants can perform professional soil tests for you. There is a knack to soil testing correctly, so call us today to organise yours!

soil herbage

Soil Physical Properties

The physical properties of a soil can have as large an impact on plant growth as its chemical fertility. A visual assessment of your soil can give a lot of information about its physical condition. There are a number of indicators that can be easily observed that might suggest a decline in soil structure:

  • Low resistance to erosion
  • Surface crusting
  • Cloddiness
  • Specific plant indicators
  • Ponding
  • Hard surfaces
  • Poor infiltration
  • Colour of soil indicating presence of organic matter

For more information on soil physical properties, see our section on soils and advice.

Herbage Testing

Herbage testing is a tool that complements soil testing.

Plants growing in nutrient deficient soils while show it in the way that they grow.  Yellowing or dry edges, stunted roots or deformed fruit could be due to nutrient deficiencies.  However sometimes physical conditions can be confusing, as it takes an experienced person to determine whether a plant is suffering from a deficiency or a toxicity!  Herbage analysis gives assurance to visual indicators.

It is important to remember that while a herbage test can tell you what nutrients are or are not being taken up by a plant, it does not tell you why.

AB Lime consultants are able to take herbage samples, send them away and help interpret the results for you.  We use Hills Laboratories to analyse herbage samples.