Soil Testing – Is it Important?
Many farmers around Africa have never tested their soil. Soil testing in Kenya is one of the ways to ensure you have a successful harvest at the end of a planting season. It is crucial in agricultural production. To avoid failures and losses, we advise farmers to carry out soil testing for their land. It is important to know your soil analysis before you apply fertilizer.
What is soil testing?
Soil testing is the analysis of soil samples to determine the nutrient levels, composition and pH level. This process includes collecting soil samples checking/ analyzing it. Collection of the samples is from specific points of the piece of land.
What is soil pH?
A soil’s pH is the measure of its alkalinity or acidity based on a scale of 0 to 14. 0 represents harsh acidity, 14 is extreme alkalinity, and 7 being neutral. Most plants prefer neutral soil with a pH between 6.2 and 7.2.
Why is it important to test your soil?
Different locations have different types of soils and need different types of care. It is because of this variation that you need to carry out a soil test. A soil test will determine your soil’s PH. You will, therefore, be able to find out whether your soil is alkaline, neutral or acidic.
Results from the soil tests will help you apply the right amount of fertilizer and lime. All this while meeting the nutrition requirements of the crop.
In addition to following recommendations given after a soil test, it is important to take care of your soil. Follow soil conservation methods and also practice crop rotation. Only by doing this will you achieve the desired yields.
How to Get Your Soil Tested?
You can get your soil tested through your local extension offices or independent laboratories.
Some of the institutions that carry out soil testing in Kenya are Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Soil Cares K Ltd. They send an agricultural officer to collect soil samples or sometimes direct the farmer on how to do it. The farmer then submits the sample to their laboratories.
In conclusion, soil testing in Kenya and Africa as a whole is affordable and a necessity. It is especially relevant to do it before planting. This will boost your agricultural production.