University of Tennessee Extension Soil Fertility Specialist Hugh Savoy says that fall is an excellent time for soil sampling farm fields and getting those samples to the laboratory ahead of the spring rush. This is especially true after fall rains have softened farm fields so that sampling to the proper 6-inch depth is possible.
 
Dr. Savoy strongly recommends using the UT Soil,Plant and Pest Center for your soil analyis and subsequent lime and fertilizer recommendations.
 
When you send a soil sample to the UT Soil,Plant and Pest Center, how good are the lab results and recommendations on lime and fertilizer?
 
First of all, quality control at the lab is your silent, but ever present partner. After each tray of 50 farmer samples, the lab checks its equipment against a sample of known levels of certain elements and pH to make sure the equipment is obtaining accurate information. The lab also participates in a national quality control program to ensure that instruments and procedures are being correctly used and giving correct results.
 
But quality control does not stop there. Many field comparisons of recommendations given by the Soil, Plant and Pest Center to those given by other laboratories have been conducted over the years. All of these studies have indicated that farmers get as good a return and often a much better return on their fertilizer dollars spent when following the UT Soil, Plant and Pest Center recommendations for lime and fertilizer application in cropping systems.
 
Soil testing is an important first step for a profitable nutrient management program. Begin your program in partnership with the UT Soil, Plant and Pest Center located in Nashville. Visit or call your county Extension office for soil test submission kits or go online at (http://soilplantandpest.utk.edu/infosheets.htm) for information sheets and instructions on submitting your soil samples.

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