In agriculture, a soil test is the analysis of a soil sample to determine nutrient and contaminated content, composition, and other characteristics such as the acidity or pH level.A soil test can determine fertility, or the expected growth potential of the soil which indicates nutrient deficiencies, potential toxicities from excessive fertility and inhibitions from the presence of non-essential trace minerals. The test is used to mimic the function of roots to assimilate minerals. The expected rate of growth is modeled by the Law of the Maximum.

Composite sampling can be performed by combining soil from several locations prior to analysis. This is a common procedure, but should be used judiciously to avoid skewing results. This procedure must be done so that government sampling requirements are met. A reference map should be created to record the location and quantity of field samples in order to properly interpret test results.

Laboratory tests often check for plant nutrients in three categories:-

  • Major nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) .
  • Secondary nutrients: sulfur, calcium, magnesium.
  • Minor nutrients: iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, chlorine

Soil testing is used to facilitate fertilizer composition and dosage selection for land employed in both agricultural and horticultural industries. Prepaid mail-in kits for soil and ground water testing are available to facilitate the packaging and delivery of samples to a laboratory. Similarly, in 2004, laboratories began providing fertilizer recommendations along with the soil composition report. Lab tests are more accurate, though both types are useful. In addition, lab tests frequently include professional interpretation of results and recommendations. Always refer to all proviso statements included in a lab report as they may outline any anomalies, exceptions, and shortcomings in the sampling and/or analytical process/results.

Record test

A record test is a test of soil taken for disturbed and undisturbed samples. Record tests are taken only in a soil testing laboratory


  • Grain size .
  • Moisture.
  • Specific gravity.
  • Liquid limit.
  • Plastic limit.
  • Shrinkage limit.
  • Compaction.
  • Direct Shear .
  • Permeability .


  • Grain size .
  • Moisture.
  • Specific gravity.
  • Compaction.
  • Direct Shear.
  • Permeability.