Benefits of testing your soil with New Zealand’s leading expert in soil fertility, Hamilton-based Soil Scientist Dr Gordon Rajendram (PhD).

Defining the pH and fertility level through expert soil testing is the first vital part in planning a nutrient management program that works for you and your farm says New Zealand’s leading expert in soil fertility, Hamilton-based Soil Scientist Dr Gordon Rajendram (PhD).

“Testing and sampling is the most crucial step in the process of nutrient management,” says Soil Scientist Dr Gordon Rajendram.

Spreading fertiliser on your soil without knowing the exact nutrient balance needed will lead to over-fertilisation. Testing your soil, pasture or herbage, and specific plants such as clover, prior to fertilisation, finds out what elements are needed. This, therefore, prevents farmers from applying excessive amounts of fertilisers and reduces the potential environmental damage it may cause.

Having efficient and professional testing done has myriad of benefits that help farmers get the most out of their farm while keeping the environment healthy.

One of the more prominent benefits, is that it can help improved yields and profitability from providing needed nutrients for the crop. “Healthy soil improves crop growth,” adds Gordon.

It can also give you more uniform crop growth, which makes individual plants more competitive with weeds, which in turn will help ease other management practices such as spraying, simplifying crop harvesting and drying and improving market quality.

Soil sampling and testing can also help reduce your environmental impact. Continuous cultivation for instance can ‘wear out the land’ on which you grow your crops and feed your animals. Soil testing can help you more effectively use plant nutrients and reduce the leaching or runoff into waterways. “Not only that but, poorly nourished crops will have minimal plant residue to hold soil in place, which saves it from wind and water erosion,” adds Gordon.

Regular soil testing, combined with a thorough record-keeping system for each field can serve as a scale to indicate whether soil fertility is increasing, decreasing, or remaining constant.  Soil fertility on many farms may be declining due to poor or deficient nutrient management.

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