Soil testing is an important management practice on all farms, whether growing vegetables for fresh market or pasture for livestock. It’s nearly impossible to determine what a soil needs to be productive, without a soil analysis. There are many types of soil analyses available depending on what information you are seeking.
Learning about the different types of soils on a farm is invaluable. Oregon alone has nearly 1,000 different kinds of soil, ranging from deep to shallow, clayey to sandy, nearly level to steeply sloping. These differences are important, because different soils require different kind of management practices.
Managing nutrients, whether it is synthetic fertilizer or manure and other organic fertilizers requires planning. Determining which type of fertilizer to apply, the application rate and timing are key factors in managing soil to improve crop yield and quality, reduce fertilizer costs and help protect the environment.
Improving Soils and Cover Crops
Even though different soils have some properties that cannot be changed, such as texture, soil quality can be improved by implementing good management strategies. Soils can be improved for water holding capacity, drainage, structure, and even the ability for plant roots to penetrate through the soil.