Soil Probe: The tool used to take the soil plugs
Soil Plug: The single sample of soil collected each time the probe enters the soil
Composite Soil Sample: A collection of soil plugs from a similar soil type / area
It is very important to take a soil plug at the right depth and this can vary.
For sown pasture: eg grass, chicory, clover, plantain:
For worked & turned soil (eg for pre-planting of crops or pasture):
Use a purpose-built ‘soil probe’ to ensure you get the correct plug depth and quantity of soil. Using a spade or trowel is an option yet more difficult to ensure exactness.
A composite sample is made up of several plugs taken from a homogeneous area and put in one bag. The soil plugs are mixed thoroughly to form a single sample with a good portion of it then sent for analysis. Charges apply per composite sample not per plug.
|Paddock / Block Size||Sample Numbers Required||Comments|
|0-100 hectares||2 composite samples||So two bags, each with several plugs|
|100-250 hectares||4 composite samples||So four bags, each with several plugs|
|250-500 hectares||6 composite samples||So six bags, each with several plugs|
|500+ hectares||Around 10 composite samples||Best discussed with your rep prior|
The reason to take separate plugs of poor areas is to determine any mineral / nutrient deficiencies in the soil that may be Ok in the other area of the paddock, then depending on analysis and recommendations, we can present a plan to help remedy the performance problem. Often damp areas can be fixed through application of certain nutrients, but also if the water-logging is from a source uncontrollable we can still add fertilisers / trace elements to help improve productivity ie work with the problem at hand rather than resolve it.
Ready your plastic bag to place soil plugs in.
Write on the bag label your name and the block, (paddock or area ID Name/Number).
Complete the form provided where identified as 'client info'
It is important to complete all areas particularly the liming programme over the last 3 years and whay type of Lime (calcium) was applied.
Return this form with your sample/s.
Push soil probe into soil so that the probe length is full of soil. If using an open probe (auger) only penetrate the soil to a depth of 10 cm (pasture), 15cm (worked soil).
Remove the soil plug from the probe by turning the probe up-side-down with bag beneath, gently knock the handle on the ground if plug is stubborn. Continue until you have finished the area and remember to seal the bag so no soil is able to drop out. Commence again from Step 1. for a new area.
Sometimes depending on the soil type or quality, the plug needs to be persuaded out of the probe, do this by either knocking the probe up-side-down so the soil falls into the bag, or gently push or prod the soil plug out with a hard plastic (clean) tool. Note, do not use any instrument for this job that may affect the test result due to particles contaminating the sample eg steel, wood, anything rusty or that could have chemicals on it.
Pack samples into the envelope or bag provided with your Kit or place in a box and either courier or deliver to Landco, alternatively call your Landco rep to collect the samples.