Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MU Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory

The Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory analyzes soil, plant, water, manure, compost and greenhouse media. The fee-based services are available to farmers, homeowners, horticulturists, golf course managers, consultants, researchers and government agencies. The laboratory provides quality testing and unbiased, research-based recommendations to clients for economically viable and environmentally safe nutrient management practices.
The laboratory analyzes about 25,000 to 35,000 field crop (farm) soil samples, 5,000 to 7,000 horticultural crop (lawn and garden) soil samples and 1,000 commercial fruits, vegetables and turf soil samples each year. Soil test reports for samples processed through the laboratory are available online. The test reports can be accessed with a password. Reports are also delivered via U.S. mail and email to regional specialists and clients by request. The regional specialists review reports and make additional comments if needed and mail to the clients.
To see all that the Soil and Pland Testing Lab can do click here.
There are currently two regional university laboratories in operation. The laboratory based in Mumford Hall at the University of Missouri handles samples from the northern half of the state, including the Kansas City Metro Area. A second lab based at the University's Delta Research Center at Portageville handles samples from the southern half of the state, including the St. Louis Metro Area.
Current routine soil fertility tests include
·       pHs
·       Organic matter
·       Neutralizable acidity
·       Ammonium acetate
·       Extractable K, Ca, Mg
·       Bray and Kurtz extractable P

Special tests include
·       Extractable Sulfate-S
·       DTPA extractable Zn, Fe, Mn, and Cu; Boron, Nitrate-N
·       Electrical conductivity
·       Textural analysis

The MU lab, in addition to soil testing, offers analysis of
·       Plant tissue
·       Greenhouse/nursery soil-less growing media
·       Compost
·       Water

These services are particularly valuable to horticulturists (fruit growers, ornamental growers and vegetable growers) and nursery producers wishing to fine tune their plant nutrition programs. These services further benefit growers as campus-based and regional horticulture specialists work directly with the soil testing lab to develop recommendations.

A soil test measures the relative soil fertility levels. It is a basic tool in planning an economically and environmentally sound fertility program. Plant analysis, on the other hand diagnoses or confirms diagnoses of a visible symptom. Combined with the soil test information, plant analysis allows fertilizer management to be fitted more closely to a crop's needs.

Plant analyses enable a more accurate measure of the nutritional health of fruit crops than through soil testing alone. It can also be used to help fine tune the efficiency of a fertilizer program before nutrient symptoms appear and is especially useful for perennial crops. Presence of nutrient deficiency symptoms indicates an acute shortage in the plant and is usually accompanied by reduced yields or fruit quality. Growers can avoid these losses by using plant analysis to identify nutrients approaching deficiency levels before yields decline or symptoms appear.

No comments:

Post a Comment