Whether you are new to hemp farming or have been in the industry for some time, your success is dependent on growing high-quality plants. Knowing how to test soil is essential to get the correct nutrients. The beginning point for this high-quality production is good soil fertility management, which starts with local soil testing. In this post, we will answer one question that you might have been asking about hemp growing, “How do I test my soil?
Why Soil Testing is So Important in Hemp Farming
Hemp, like other plants, relies on the nutrients available on the soil to thrive. Therefore, local soil testing can help you to understand whether the soil has the right nutrients that the plant requires to thrive.
For example, does your soil have the right amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium? What about the pH? Here are other reasons why you need to test your soil for growing hemp:
- Soil test allows you to understand soil deficiency so that you can adopt the right fertility management method.
- It is a good way to avoid over-fertilization in the field that results in wastage of fertilizer.
- Testing helps you to adjust the pH for your fields to optimize nutrients uptake by plants.
- It is a good way to improve your production of your farm.
- You understand the level of soil contamination in your field and craft a good method of addressing it.
How Do I Test My Soil at the Farm?
To do a soil test on your own, you need to acquire the right soil testing kits, and follow the instructions. Although the process on how to do a soil test on your own using a test kit might differ slightly depending on the nature of the kit, here is the common procedure that you should follow:
The process of how to test soil with a kit involves collecting a soil sample, mixing with distilled water, and using a reagent that changes color or when it reacts with different components, such as nitrogen and potassium. Finally, you compare the color changes with a chart to determine the levels of different components and pH.
Although it is pretty simple, testing the soil on your own comes with major limitations, such as the number of parameters that you can check.
Furthermore, most kits only show the range of the component that you are testing as opposed to specific levels.
Besides, it requires some basic understanding of soil science, which some farmers might not have.
So, if you are wondering, “How do I test my soil and get the best results,” the best method is using an accredited third-party laboratory, such as Sante Laboratories.
Benefits of Using Accredited Third-Party Laboratory for Soil Testing
Soil is a very complex system of chemical, biological and physical interactions, which need to be well-balanced for plants to grow. Because laboratories are run by experts in soil science, it is easy for them to analyze its components and advise you on the best soil management methods. Here are other benefits of using accredited laboratories to test your samples:
They Have the Latest Technologies
While it is true that basic soil testing kits can help to detect the presence of some components in the soil, there are others, such as heavy metals and contaminants that require advanced technologies. For example, most labs use advanced technologies, and no matter the tests that you want to be done, know that you can always count on the experts in the labs to get it done fast.
They are Dedicated to Seeing the Hemp Industry Grow
Although cannabis has been in use for thousands of years, the industry is considered new because it is only recently that its use has been legalized. Therefore, most farmers are still facing a lot of challenges in navigating through the new regulatory framework introduced by the Farm Bill Amendments of 2018. The good thing is that you can rely on committed laboratories to ensure that you produce high-quality hemp.
Accredited Laboratories are Fast and Reliable
If you are wondering on “how to do a soil test fast” and make the right decisions on soil management, the best answer is using an accredited lab. Because they have state-of-the-art facilities, the laboratories will be able to complete the tests promptly so that you can select the best fields and make the right decisions on the fertilizers to use.
If you are new to hemp farming and do not know much about how to test soil and interpret the results, the experts in the laboratory can also help.
For example, if the test shows that your soil is alkaline, your selected laboratory experts will tell you to look for fertilizer that can raise the pH to about 6.5-7.0
How much Does Soil Testing Cost?
To get your sample tested, it is also important to answer the question, “How much does soil testing cost?” Although the cost of testing a hemp sample varies depending on the selected lab, the price tag includes a number of applications and fees, which are inclusive of high-quality testing fee, transportation of the material, and a sampler fee. In 2016, the fees grossed less than $10,000 for about 62% of the farms.
How to Get Soil Tested by the Best Laboratory?
Now that you know the benefits of getting your soil tested by professionals, we will now tell you the process to follow.
Identify the Best Laboratory to Test Your Soil
The first and most important step is identifying the preferred laboratory. Here, you need to be extra careful because there are many laboratories out there, but you can only be sure of the right results by selecting the one with pros who know how to get soil tested well.
Visit the laboratory’s website to confirm that they are driven by the desire to see the farmers succeed. You might also want to talk to their support to ask some questions, such as “How much does soil testing cost?”
Another method of determining if a soil testing lab is good is checking the feedback from the previous clients. This can give you some indication on what to anticipate. For example, if most of the farmers who have been using the services of the lab were happy, you can also expect to get satisfied with the nutrients, heavy metals, and pH testing for soil.
Follow their Procedure for Collecting Samples
Ask the laboratory about their procedure for sample collection, and follow it. Most of the labs recommend that you should collect samples from different sections of the field so that the results are a representative the entire farm. Once you collect the samples, make sure to secure it well in waterproof bags and ship to the laboratory.
The Soil Samples are Tested in the Lab
The good thing about using a lab is that the experts who will handle the sample know how to test soil for nutrients, heavy metals, and other parameters. They use the latest technologies, such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPCL) and gas chromatography to get you the results you want fast.
Note that advanced labs do not just know how to test your soil, but can also check the components in other types of samples, such as hemp product. So, do not hesitate to go back and have your product checked for quality.
The Test Report is Sent to You for Action
The main reason for learning how to do a soil test or using a lab to analyze it for you is to develop a good soil management. So, once the report about the level of nutrients, pH, and heavy metals is sent to you from the lab, you have the opportunity to make the right decision.
For example, you will be able to determine the fertilizer to use for planting to increase the nutrients or raise the acidity of the soil.
Sante Laboratories: Your Best Partner in Soil Testing
One of the best laboratories out there that have stood out from others because of its commitment to helping farmers in the hemp industry is Sante Laboratories. Their experts know how to test soil for heavy metals and can advise you on the best strategies for improvement.
They can also help you to understand how to test soil for nutrients for better production. Their recent program, in partnership with Lone Star Overnight (LSO) has demonstrated their commitment to assisting farmers to become more successful.
Under the partnership, hemp farmers in Texas will now be able to ship their samples for free using LSO. So, if you were wondering how to test your soil fast, the answer is Sante. You simply get your sample and drop it at the LSO pick up points. The company will ship the sample to Sante Laboratories in Austin in less than 15 days.
This is very convenient for those who were wondering how to get soil tested affordably because the shipping is free.
If you are a new hemp farmer and have been wondering about pH testing for soil or how to test soil for nutrients, your best answer is using an accredited laboratory, such as Sante Laboratories.
They have stood out for local soil testing and have a convenient program for shipping samples free in Texas. If you want to be successful in hemp farming, make sure to work with experts in local soil testing and product sample analysis, and the most outstanding one is Sante Labs.