In agriculture, a soil test commonly refers to the analysis of a soil sample to determine nutrient content, composition, and other characteristics such as the acidity or pH level. A soil test can determine fertility, or the expected growth potential of the soil which indicates nutrient deficiencies, potential toxicities from excessive fertility and inhibitions from the presence of non-essential trace minerals.
Soil analysis is a valuable tool for your farm or garden as it determines the inputs required for efficient and economic production. A proper soil test will help ensure the application of enough fertilizer to meet the requirements of the crop while taking advantage of the nutrients already present in the soil. It will also allow you to determine lime requirements and can be used to diagnose problem areas. It is very important that your sampling technique is correct as the results are only as good as the sample you take. Soil testing is also a requirement for farms completing a nutrient management plan.