By: Jerrold Tesmer, University of Minnesota Extension in Fillmore & Houston Counties
Soil testing, in any type of agricultural or horticultural landscape, can provide a number of benefits. A soil analysis takes the guesswork out of fertilizer recommendations, makes good economic sense and ensures fertile soil without excess fertilizer application. Based on the results of the University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory, the local Extension office can provide area residents with their specific soil conditions, and ultimately offer more accurate advice and consultation to their questions.
Soil testing kits, which include sample bags, collection recommendations and a soil sample information sheet, are available at both the Fillmore and Houston County Extension Offices. Instructions for sampling soil in both small and large landscapes are also offered. After the sample has been collected and mailed to the University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory, located on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus, the results are processed within three to five days and returned to the landowner.
Along with the returned soil test results, recommendations are provided for nutrient application. Please contact me in Caledonia or Preston, at either Extension office, if assistance is needed to interpret the recommendations or soil test results.
More information regarding soil testing through the University of Minnesota can be found at http://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu or http://www.extension.umn.edu/nutrient-management/
Fertilizer recommendations in Minnesota are based on "Fertilizer Guidelines for Agronomic Crops in Minnesota" BU-06240-S Revised 2011, Daniel E. Kaiser, Extension Soil Scientist; John A. Lamb, Extension Soil Scientist; and Roger Elieason, Director, University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory.