Soil Testing for Plant-Available Nutrients: What Is It and Why Do We Use It?

Figure 1. Scheme illustrating random soil sampling on a commercial agricultural farm or a landscapeFarmers need soil-testing procedures to assess soils for potential plant-available nutrients. Soil testing is the foremost best management practice (BMP). It helps farmers achieve profitable crops while protecting the environment from excessive fertilization and nutrient losses. This 5-page fact sheet describes the important steps required to test soil for potential plant-available nutrients. Written by George Hochmuth, Rao Mylavarapu, and Ed Hanlon, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, October 2014.