In agriculture or home gardening, our most precious commodity is our soil. Does the soil have the necessary nutrients? Is it chock full of contaminants? To protect your harvest, it is essential to conduct soil tests on a regular basis. Since soil testing in Clinton County, IN is such an important part of our livelihood, let’s examine what the typical turnaround time for a soil test.
The Fastest Way to Test
The quickest turnaround option for soil testing comes with testing the soil yourself. Do-it-yourself kits can be purchased at most farm and fleet or gardening stores. These tests aren’t a bad solution if you need only a limited amount of information. They will test for the three major nutrient levels and pH level. However, these test have a notable margin of error and may not give you the data you need. While the turnaround time is longer, a laboratory test conducted by a professional technician will produce a full soil sample report and will most likely give you the information you need.
The Soil Testing Process
Sending a soil sample to a lab will yield more benefits in examining many details about your soil. You’ll be able to identify the exact amounts of the three major nutrients that plants need. Technicians can report on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They will also conduct tests to determine the levels of the secondary nutrients: sulfur, calcium and magnesium. Finally a test will be conducted to determine levels of the minor nutrients: copper, zinc, boron, manganese, iron, molybdenum and chlorine.
A lab test will also show the acidity level or pH level of the soil. Most importantly, the technicians will be looking for soil contaminants, such as barium, cadmium, copper, arsenic, mercury, lead and zinc. If contaminants are found, corrective actions can be recommended on how to restore your soil to good health. A fully comprehensive test could take anywhere from five to 10 business days to complete.
Factors Affecting Turnaround Time
Many different factors can affect the turnaround time from when the sample is sent in for testing and when the results are received:
- Delivery method: You can either choose to mail the sample in or drop the soil sample at the lab yourself. The turnaround time will be shorter if you drop the soil sample at the lab. Always factor in the time it takes for the soil to make it through “snail mail” to get to the lab.
- Time of year: A soil testing lab’s busiest time of year is during the spring rush. This takes place from mid-March to June. Expect the turnaround to be greater than the standard five to 10 business days during this time period. The slowest time for labs, and therefore the quickest turnaround time for the client, is during the winter months.
- Type of testing: Routine soil testing takes about five to 10 business days. However, if the testing requested is more specialized, this will require a greater turnaround time. For example, some clients like to test plant tissue or total sorbed metals.
- Lab equipment issues: Unfortunately, as with any other facility, there can be equipment failures. If a lab experiences problems with the very specialized machines used to test the soil, specialists must be called upon to precisely repair the equipment to ensure the integrity of the tests.
Solutions in Soil Testing in Clinton County, IN
BCS Landscape Design & Soil Testing is your solution for soil testing in Clinton County, IN. We are locally owned and have been providing trusted service to the community since 1993. Contact us today to determine how to make your soil the best it can be for the next season.
Categorised in: Soil Testing