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Conservation on the Ground - Products For Sale & Equipment For Rent

Soil & Water maintains equipment for use by landowners for a nominal fee to promote conservation tillages, nutrient management, enhance crop production, and conserve the Soil & Water resources in the county.  Click the link at left to review the equipment available and schedule your rental.

Soil Sampling Do’s and Don’ts

It is that time of year again to be thinking about taking soil samples on your farm.  

Remember a soil analysis is only as good as the sample on which it is based.  Soil samples should be taken approximately 6 months prior to when you want to plant the crop.  This gives you time to get the results back and get a plan established as to what fertilization program you want to apply.  There is no magic number for how many cores you should take to form a good sample for the lab; the more cores you take the better representation you will get for the field you are sampling.  A good suggestion is to take 10-15 cores for fields under 20 acres, removing any vegetation or crop residue from the surface of the sampling site.  

You want to sample to plow layer depth, usually 6-8 inches. You should also take different samples for areas of different soil type and different terrain in the same field.  Mix cores thoroughly, breaking up any clods and discarding stones and debris.  Be sure to label soil samples in a way that, at a later date, you will be able to link the analysis with the correct field.  A good time of year to sample is during the fall after harvest has been completed.  You don’t have the pressure of spring time planting, no standing crops to deal with, and fields are usually dry enough to support a four-wheeler or pickup truck.  You should sample each field at least once every 3 years; more often if you’re trying to correct serious pH or nutrient deficiencies. 

When you send you samples to the lab, you should use the same lab every time, because different labs use different methods which can give you different results for the samples you had taken. When you get the results back from the lab you can go over them with our Soil & Water Agriculture District Technician, your local crop consultant, or the OSU Extension Agriculture Educator to come up with a plan that will work on your farm.  

You can also come up with a Variable Rate plan that most fertilizer Co-Ops can do with the new Variable Rate technology equipment they have.  This new program lets the farmers apply on the fertilizers to the areas of the field that are deficient and not have an over abundance on other areas of the fields.  This technology will also be more cost effective and also make you better stewards of the soils that you farm.  

Soil & Water has Soil Probes to borrow to take samples.  Contact us to reserve yours today!  740-670-5330 or


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