UT Soil (and Forage) Test Lab

The University of Tennessee Soil and Forage Test Laboratory has assisted homeowners, farmers, nursery growers and researchers since 1949. Samples are submitted from across the state to the laboratory, located at the Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville. The lab provides both soil testing and forage and grain analysis.

Profitable Results

A number of soil testing laboratories serve clients in Tennessee, and generally provide similar, accurate results. Fertilizer recommendations made from those results can, however, vary widely among laboratories. University laboratories historically have followed a “feed the crop” approach to making fertilizer
recommendations where as many commercial laboratories tend to try and rapidly build soil test levels (maintenance approach) and provide additional micronutrient recommendations. In a number of comparisons of fertilizer recommendations among laboratories, university recommendations have generally proven to be the most profitable. For more details, see http://bioengr.ag.utk.edu/pubs/BEES101.pdf.

Soil Testing

A basic analysis provides a reading of pH, Phosphorous and Potassium levels in the soil for $6.00 per sample. Turnaround is typically 2-5 days. Test results can be used to formulate research-based, cost-effective lime and fertilizer recommendations specific to the type of crop and yield desired. To assist growers with their soil fertility needs, county agents and extension specialists are available statewide to help with any management decisions related to soil test recommendations.

Forage and Grain Analysis

A basic forage test includes moisture, dry matter, crude protein, ADF (acid detergent fiber), NDF (neutral detergent fiber), total digestible nutrients, net energy, relative feed value, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium for $10.00 per sample. A basic grain test includes moisture, dry matter, crude protein and ADF (acid detergent fiber) for $10.00 per sample. If interested in a Mineral analysis, this includes copper, sulfur, sodium, manganese and zinc for an additional $10.00 per sample. Rations are provided free of charge if requested.

More Information

The lab is a cooperative program of The Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service and The U.T. Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science Department. For more information, visit the lab website at http://bioengr.ag.utk.edu/SoilTestLab.
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