Soil Testing, The Right First Step

All plants, including garden plants, need essential nutrients to grow, most of them come from the soil. Plants also require favorable soil chemical conditions as indicated by the soil pH. For a farm or garden to maintain quality or productivity, we may need to add fertilizer to supply extra nutrients or add lime to neutralize acidity and adjust the pH. A soil test identifies necessary fertilizer and lime requirements.

Adding more of a nutrient than a soil needs can cost extra money and may harm the plants or contaminate the environment.

The true value of a soil test is to help ensure that only needed nutrients are added and in quantities which don’t adversely affect environmental quality.

What is a Soil Test?

A soil test is a chemical analysis that estimates a soil’s ability to supply nutrients. Results from a soil test allow you to monitor soil chemical conditions, tap existing nutrient supplies, identify nutrient deficiencies, and apply optimum fertilizer amounts.

Benefits of Soil Testing

  • Take advantage of nutrients already in the soil.
  • Identify nutrients that are lacking in the soil.
  • Reduce fertilizer applications by applying only what is needed.
  • Provide a proper balance of plant nutrients.
  • Adjust soil pH to an optimum level.
  • Reduce chances of excess nutrients getting into water sources.

Rapid Soil Test Kit (RST)

Rapid Soil Test Kit is a simple, low-cost and portable testting kits developed by the soil scientists of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management. These kits can be used by farmers and agricultural technicians in the field to identify quickly the macro and micro-nutrient deficiencies in the soil that limit rice and other crop production. The RST also provides information about the analysis requried to ensure that the location specific fertilizer are recommended.

The RST includes quick field analysis of zinc, calcium and magnesium. The RST is expected to provide a more direct information about the adequacy and deficiency levels of both the major and minor soil nutrients. The information will lead to a more precise fertilizer recommendation. The RST costs cheaper compared to laboratory fees required by the Central Regional Soils Laboratory. Additional info here

For further information, visit or contact:

Laboratory Services Division
Bureau of Soils and Water Management
Elliptical Road cor. Visayas Ave.
Diliman, Quezon City
Tel: (02) 923-0492, 920-4378
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.bswm.da.gov.ph

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  1. By P. L. Maramba

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