Soil Testing and All You Need To Know About It

soil testing machine

The significance of soil testing machine:

The soil is complex because of the many chemicals, biological and physical processes that interact with one another to ensure its existence. To grow high-quality plants, it’s important that these interactions are in the right balance.

The nutritional content of the soil is a major factor that influences farm productivity and crop yields. High yields can only be achieved when farmers are well informed about the mineral nutrition requirement of the soil. Farmers often decide whether or not to fertilize the soil based on certain external factors. However, this method is not always reliable. External signs can be confusing, and even experienced specialists can make mistakes. A lack or excess of any one of the essential elements present in the soil can cause an imbalance in the other elements.

Also, the cost of production will rise if there is not enough mineral nutrition in the soil. This can lead to lower yields and reduced profitability. Note that certain plants are sensitive to extreme weather conditions. Poor soil quality, low mineral absorption, and soil depletion can all lead to a host of plant diseases that may not be easily treated. Such issues, not just lower yield but also increase expenses. So, for minimizing or avoiding unnecessary costs, soil analysis is extremely important.

Methods of soil testing:

The undermentioned characteristics are studied in soil testing:

  • Fertility on the basis of biological, physical, physicochemical, and agrochemical parameters.
  • Contamination by pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and nematodes.
  • Other types of contaminations such as the presence of pesticide residues and radionuclides. Sometimes, organic contaminants may also be present in the soil.

So, essentially the expected results determine the type of soil testing. This means that each analysis is done to determine if certain parameters may have a negative or positive effect on plant growth.

Now, let’s talk about the various methods of soil analysis:

  • The mechanical analysis. 

It’s also known as particle size analysis. It involves the analysis of mechanical particles (granules) in the soil. The analysis is done by collecting such particles as a sample for soil analysis. These particles are then sorted into groups according to their diameter and weight. The study will reveal how much clay and what type of sand the soil has.

  • Chemical analysis

This test can reveal the soil’s content and nutrients. It determines the soil’s absorption capacity, the presence or absence of heavy metals, acidity, and whether fertilizer(s) are required. There are many methods available for conducting this analysis, such as photometric, gravimetric, and chromatographic.

With a chemical analysis, the following can be achieved—

  1. Testing if there are heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, zinc, copper, nickel, arsenic, or mercury present in the soil.
  2. Testing if petroleum products, contents of benzpyrene, and other substances are present in the soil.
  3. Testing the pH level of the soil.
  • Determining the total pollution indicator

Chemical analysis and comparison of data with the maximum permissible levels (MPCs) for each indicator allow us to draw conclusions about the level of chemical pollution in the soil.

  • Agrochemical analysis

It is used to determine the concentration of chemicals in agricultural crops or garden plants and the health of farm animals.

  • Mineralogical analysis

It provides data about the soil’s content of primary and secondary minerals, which together make up most of the Earth (90-97%).

  • Toxicological analysis

This soil test can be used to determine the presence of any harmful substances such as lead, mercury, and oil products.

  • Microbiological analysis

This analysis can show how many microorganisms are present in the soil. It includes bacteria, fungi, and algae. We can then determine their density per gram of soil. 

This allows us to determine the biological activity in the soil and the presence of pathogenic microorganisms that can cause plant diseases.

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