Sampling Soils for Fertilizer and Lime Recommendations (E0498)

The appropriate frequency for soil sampling may vary from 1 to 4 years, depending on crops grown, crop rotation, soil texture and the approach used for sampling.

Soil sampling farm fields is an investment that leads to profitable use of lime and nutrient inputs in crop production. Soil testing begins with a representative composite soil sample and continues with the analysis, interpretation of the test results and recommendations. Soil test results are the basis for developing nutrient management programs for individual fields and farm operations. Evaluation of changes in soil pH and available nutrient levels over time requires collection of soil samples that represent the conditions in a field each time it is sampled.

Farm, landscape, lawn maintenance, nursery, athletic field and other commercial operations or those who wish to test soil for wildlife plots should contact their local MSU Extension office or the Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory by calling 517-355-0218 or visiting for soil testing instructions and costs.

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