Autumn is an ideal time for soil sampling. Soils are warm and the results will come back to allow for planning during the winter time.

This is of course if you are lucky enough to have your crops harvested and straw baled. If not, soil sampling is not going to be top of your priorities and can be carried out later on in the year.

However, it should be a priority once harvest is finished on farms where current soil sample results are running out of date.

There is also good value available in fertiliser at the moment and if you have soil sample results you might be able to avail of the opportunity to reduce costs next season.

How to take a soil sample?

If you are taking the sample yourself you will need a soil auger which takes samples to a depth of 10cm and walk in a ‘W’ shape taking a large enough sample to represent the size of the field. Approximately 20 soil cores per sample is a good guide.

Soil samples should cover an area no greater than 4ha and ideally should be taken every three to five years. Be careful not to sample an area which may distort the sample. For example, if farmyard manure was tipped in the field before spreading.