For nearly 80 years, the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory has been providing farmers and homeowners with a wealth of information to help them make the best nutrient management decisions for their properties.
The Soil Testing Laboratory helps clients find the perfect amount and combination of nutrients for their field or lawn by using a system that assesses the types of crops grown, past crop yields, and whether or not the field has a drainage system, among other factors.
If too much of one nutrient is used, the excess can be washed away; if too little is applied, the crops or turf may not grow as well. When a lawn or field is treated correctly, the environment is less likely to experience runoff and people spend less money on fertilizer.
“Rather than guessing what your soil needs, we’re actually measuring soil nutrients and making recommendations based on crop or plant needs,” said Steve Heckendorn, lab manager.
Over the past year, the Soil Testing Laboratory, located on Virginia Tech’s campus, has analyzed more than 51,000 soil samples from roughly 12,000 clients located in every county in Virginia.
Local agriculture and natural resources agents like Kelli Scott of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Montgomery County Office recommend soil tests to anyone concerned about their crops or lawns. The tests help protect the environment while saving money.
“Most often, it saves people money because they have that prescribed advice,” Scott said.