Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services

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Samle in a zigzag patternSubmitting samples

Population contours in this map of a five-acre field vary from red, 8,000 soybean cyst nematode eggs per 100 cubic centimeters of soil, or about 1/2 cup, to zero, blue. Sample soil in a zigzag pattern to ensure a representative sample.

Proper collection of samples is extremely important.

Sample analysis information forms

Collecting samples

If a soil test is to provide meaningful results, the soil sample must be representative of the entire area to be tested.

Read instructions before taking samples

  • Take samples when soil is moist. Collect one pint of soil for each sample.
  • When sampling fields in row crops, take samples to represent the top 8 inches of soil. When possible, sample directly in the root zone.
  • For pastures, lawns, and other areas in sod, take samples of only the top 5 inches of soil.
  • For shrubs, each sample should be composed of soil taken from three or more places in the area. Even when the sample is to be collected from one shrub, take soil from three or more places around the plant. Collect the sample to represent the top 6 inches of soil. Call the laboratory for instructions on sampling trees.
  • Put soil in a plastic bag and close bag tightly.

Special instructions for soybean cyst nematode samples

  • When sampling for diagnostic purposes (is the nematode present) collect soil from the margins of the area where plants are showing symptoms or where the nematode is most likely to be introduced into a field.
  • When sampling for management purposes, soil should be collected over the entire field and a subsample of one pint of soil submitted to the laboratory. For a representative sample, collect the soil from 20 or more places in the sampling area. Divide large fields into sampling areas of about 10 acres each, mix together, and send one composite sample from each area. Samples should not represent more than 40 acres.

Care of samples

  • Nematodes are sensitive to heat. Do not leave samples in the sun or other areas of high temperature. Do not allow samples to dry out.

Packaging and mailing samples

  • Mark the sample bag with your name and the name or number of the sampling area. Place in a mailing box.
  • Fill out the Nematode Soil Sample Submission Form as completely as possible. Indicate soil type designation as follows
    • Sandy
    • Sandy loam
    • Clay loam
    • Clay
  • Send samples to:
    • Plant Nematology Laboratory
      23 Mumford Hall
      Columbia, MO 65211

Updated 1/6/14