Attention West Virginia Residents & Customers
As of September 2018, the WVU Soil Testing Lab has made some changes, and here's what you need to know
for an effective, informative soil test.
New Online Fillable PDF Submission Form
The WVU Soil Testing Lab has a revised
soil sample submission form. The easiest thing for you to do is fill out the
form online, save a copy with your customer data to your computer and then use
that saved version to generate a form for each new soil sample you submit. Include an email address to receive your results as quickly as possible. If your crop is hay, pasture, corn, barley, wheat, soybeans, oats, small grain silage or grain sorghum,
it is important to provide the predominant soil series in the field where you collected
the soil sample to receive the best possible recommendations.
New Crop Codes
Many new crop codes have been added, including individual vegetable crops, small
fruits and wildlife food plots. If you are sending in a sample of your home garden,
continue to use the “home garden” crop code. Do not use multiple crop codes
for individual vegetable crops. The electronic form only allows a single crop code. Fertilizer
recommendations for lawns and gardens and commercial horticulture crops are not
based on soil type.
New, Improved Recommendations
The WVU Soil Testing Lab is changing from the Mehlich I to the Mehlich III soil test
extraction method. Will this change the fertilization recommendations? Not
really, although the reported soil concentrations will be different and have a
different unit. Extractable or plant available nutrients will now be reported as
parts per million of the element (e.g.,15 ppm P) instead of pounds per acre of the oxide
form (e.g.,15 lbs/acre P2O5).
The biggest difference you will notice on your new soil test report is the addition of two fertilizer recommendations. These are “crop sufficiency rate” and “build to optimum rate.” The crop sufficiency rate is the smallest amount of fertilizer needed to achieve the expected crop yield in a typical year. This amount needs to be applied every year to ensure adequate soil fertility. This is probably best the best choice for rented land that may or may not be available next year. The build to optimum rate will increase soil test concentrations until they are in the optimum zone, where additional fertilizer would not be recommended. This is probably the best choice for land you own, will have access to for several years or when fertilizer prices are low because it allows you to skip fertilization for one year. It would also allow you to cycle through fields with manure applications.
New Lime Recommendations
The lime requirement is given in tons of "effective neutralizing value" lime per
acre. This is to emphasize that not all lime contains 100 percent readily available calcium
carbonate. Adjust this rate based on the purity and fineness of the agricultural
lime you are applying. Ask your county agent to show you how to make this calculation.
New Soil Test Report Delivery System
Soil test reports will now be sent directly to the email address you supply on the
sample submission form and to your
county Extension agent. The WVU Soil Testing Lab will never share this information
with others, it’s simply a way for us to speed up the reporting process.
Get Help With Your Soil Test
Finally, different isn’t always better, but in this case, we are confident you will come to appreciate the changes we have made. If you have questions or concerns, please ask. At the bottom of the second page of the new soil test recommendation report you will find the name, phone number and email address of a county agricultural agent who can assist with interpretation of your results.