Soil Sampling Capability Upgraded at NCDA&CS

Faster analysis will lessen wait time for farmers and others.

Published on: Dec 20, 2010

Farmers and crop consultants who submit crop samples for analysis to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services don't like waiting to get results. In the past they have sometimes encountered significant wait times of up to five or six weeks, but now that the department has upgraded to some new analysis equipment they will get their results in a more timely manner.

That should help them be more efficient. After all, the sooner they can get analysis information the sooner they can plan their planting year. And with quickly changing commodity prices many farmers will change their crop mix this year, depending on potential returns.

The new equipment is expected to be in service in early January. With the new equipment the department expects their capability to be boosted to 3,200 samples per day – an increase of at least 400 samples per day.

"In addition to testing for nutrient levels, the lab also performs two analytical tests that allow us to class our soils for the purpose of making reliable lime and fertilizer recommendations, which have been field tested here in North Carolina," says David Hardy, NCDA&CS Soil Testing Section chief. "But one of the best reasons to use the state lab is that we offer free advisory services through our network of regional agronomists.

The Field Services Section also has 13 agronomists available for on-site visits. Learn more at