Interpreting Soil Test Results


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How to interpret your soil test

Soil screening levels or limits are based on the exposure pathways of concern at the site e. We compared soil contaminant guidelines from various states, countries and agencies below. Allowable levels of lead are often given at ppm, but given a soil lead level of ppm, eating approximately two teaspoons of this soil per week would be required to give the same amount of lead found in a diet that can cause elevated blood levels of concern.

However, when you see that your soil has ppm Lead, this is the total lead found in the soil sample, not the amount of lead that is available to get into your plants or your body and affect your health. Further, we cannot assume that metals are in one of the most toxic and available chemical forms, which is not always the case with metals and other contaminants in soil.

For example, hexavalent chromium, or "chromate," is highly toxic to humans. However, total chromium is usually almost entirely in the less toxic form of trivalent chromium. The behavior of contaminants in the environment, tendency to be taken up by plants, and potential for health effects of human exposure to those metals depend on their chemical form. For example, some forms of metals can readily dissolve in water soluble and therefore can enter plants or the human body more easily than forms that cannot easily dissolve insoluble.

Human and plant toxicity depend upon the amount of metal that enters the body or plant-- this has to do with what is called "bioavailability. I did this Help out by offering feedback! You must be logged in to comment.

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The application of gypsum CaSO4 can help alleviate excess sodium in the short term. High exchangeable aluminium concentrations can be common in very low pH soils, and may be toxic to plants.

Making Sense Of Your Soil Test Results

High aluminium levels can be reduced by applying lime. Aluminium levels generally fall to harmless levels once the pH water exceeds 5. Well structured soils generally have twice the amount of exchangeable calcium to exchangeable magnesium.. If the calcium to magnesium ratio is less than , then this may indicate reduced soil stability. In contrast, a calcium to magnesium ratio of more than indicates a potential magnesium deficiency in plants and animals. Magnesium to potassium ratio. The amount of magnesium should be one and a half times greater than the amount of potassium.

If the ratio of magnesium to potassium is less than 1. Soil salinity is a measure of the total soluble salts present.


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High levels of soluble salts in the root zone may affect water and nutrient uptake and adversely affect plant growth. Plants are more susceptible to salinity in their germination and seedling stage than in later stages of growth. Ideal levels are less than 0. Different pasture species have varying tolerance to soil salinity,.

How to Interpret a Soil Test | Deer Creek Seed

Some soil test reports do not include a value for plant tolerance levels, but only report the electrical conductivity value. To convert an electrical conductivity EC result to a plant tolerance level ECe , it involves multiplying the EC value by a factor that depends on soil texture. The department provides courses on the nutrient requirements of farms to beef, sheep and dairy producers.

These courses provide information on managing soil factors that can limit plant growth, determining nutrient requirements of pastures, nutrient budgeting for your own farm, calculating rates and costs of fertilisers as well as using fertilisers.

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Compost Sampling soils used for growing pastures, field and fodder crops Sample soils for flower, fruit, grape and vegetable production Gypsum blocks for measuring the dryness of soil Understanding soil tests - pastures Soils community of practice Salinity Irrigation Erosion Pastures Native vegetation Services to farmers Newsletters Managing for and during drought FarmBuild Blue-green algae issues Agriculture Energy Investment Plan Weather and climate Dairy Grains and other crops Horticulture Livestock Animal health and welfare Digital agriculture Invest in Victorian agriculture Innovation and research Pests, diseases and weeds Fisheries Forestry Game hunting Emergencies.

Understanding soil tests - pastures Note Number: AG Published: August Updated: Soil testing provides valuable information on important soil characteristics and can greatly assist in cost effective decisions about fertilisers and other soil additions on your farm.

Be Cautious When Interpreting Early Fall Soil-Test Results

Soil type Soil type is reported as the colour and the texture of the soil. Organic carbon Organic carbon is a measure of the organic matter present in soil. Table 1. Table 2. Table 3. Phosphorus buffering index When phosphorus is applied to soils as fertiliser, it reacts with soil components and becomes less available for plant uptake.

Table 4. Exchangeable calcium Calcium is a necessary plant nutrient, plays a key role in maintaining soil structure and is generally present in high concentrations in the soil solution, even at low pH. Exchangeable magnesium Magnesium is also a necessary plant nutrient, and is usually present in sufficient quantities to satisfy plant requirements. Exchangeable potassium Potassium is an essential plant nutrient and is required in larger amounts.


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  • Exchangeable aluminium High exchangeable aluminium concentrations can be common in very low pH soils, and may be toxic to plants. Calcium to magnesium ratio Well structured soils generally have twice the amount of exchangeable calcium to exchangeable magnesium.. Magnesium to potassium ratio The amount of magnesium should be one and a half times greater than the amount of potassium. Salinity Soil salinity is a measure of the total soluble salts present.

    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results
    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results
    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results
    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results
    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results
    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results
    Interpreting Soil Test Results Interpreting Soil Test Results

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