Soil sampling guidelines
Soil testing is an important step in planning nutrient applications to agricultural land for optimizing crop growth, yield, and quality. For accurate soil test results, a composite soil sample must be created by taking samples from several locations that are representative of the entire sampled area. Failure to take a representative sample can lead to an under or over application of nutrients.
There are two main types of soil tests used in British Columbia:
1. Basic soil fertility test measures the pH and concentrations of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and other plant nutrients in the upper 15 cm (6 in) of the soil.
2. Post-harvest nitrate test (PHNT) measures the amount of nitrate in the upper 30 cm (12 in) of the soil after crop harvest in the fall (September - November).
While each soil test has its own unique applications, the mechanics of taking each soil sample are the same, and in some cases may be taken at the same time.
Find further soil testing information on:
- Sample timing and depth
- Soil sampling methods & tools
- Sample handling, laboratory submission, and analysis
Soil testing information can also be accessed in a printable format (PDF).