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60% of crop yields depend on soil fertility? Soil is a precious resource that needs to be managed carefully. As a farmer, you can do this by performing soil tests on a regular basis.
Fertile soils are necessary to grow healthy crops. To improve soil fertility, you first need to understand what nutrients are lacking in the soil and what steps you can take to improve the quality to optimal growing potential. This requires testing. Soil fertility is determined by the chemical, physical and biological properties of soil. Properties such as soil texture, colour and structure are visible. However, it is impossible to see the chemical composition of soil. This is what needs to be measured and why soil sampling is essential. Soil tests are used to determine the nutrient content and pH level of a soil. With this information the exact type and quantity of fertiliser that needs to be applied to improve soil fertility can be defined.
With a proper soil fertility management strategy, farmers can maximize the efficiency of nutrients and water use ultimately improving their productivity. Soil testing is the first step towards proper soil fertility management, it gives invaluable information to help you improve your soil’s health.
Applying fertiliser without knowing the actual nutrient needs of your soil might lead to over-fertilisation. By testing your soils and receiving fertiliser recommendations, you can avoid using an excessive amount of fertiliser. This is better for your crops and the environment. Fertiliser burn and leaves turning yellow is the outcome of over-fertilisation for crops. It might also result in nutrient leaching, water pollution and irreversible damages to the surrounding aquatic life.
Most soil nutrients are readily found in the soil provided that its pH level is within the 6 to 6.5 range. However, when the pH level rises, many nutrients (like phosphorus, iron, etc.) may become less available. When it drops, they may even reach toxic levels, which can adversely affect the plants. Getting a soil test can help take the guesswork out of fixing any of these nutrient issues. There’s no need to spend money on fertilisers that aren’t necessary. There’s no worry of over fertilising plants either. With a soil test, you’ll have the means for creating a healthy soil environment that will lead to maximum plant growth.


Whatever your views on the efficacy of testing, the simple truth is Animals, like Humans can suffer from a multitude of ailments brought on by inadequate diet, living conditions and external environmental factors. Just as you would regularly get a full range of tests from your doctor and act upon the advise given as a result of those tests, so too can be said for your livestock. The improvement to the growth rate, production, general health and returns on stock can be substantial, just by testing a few animals. 

Like humans, animals accumulate metals in the body over time, animals have unique exposures through the food they eat, the water they drink and the dirt and dust they live and breed in. These metals interfere in mostly negative ways with body functioning.

The correct mineral balance is important for animal health. Biochemical, emotional and physical stressors can deplete the body of essential nutrients. Environmental toxicity and chronic health issues may result in the accumulation of toxins in tissue and disrupt normal body chemistry. Mineral deficiencies, as well as excesses, can lead to ill health and disease.

Hair tissue mineral analysis is a simple non-invasive test that measures the levels of nutrients and toxic metals found in the coat. It can detect an excess or deficiency of nutrient minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It can also identify over exposure to toxic metals such as arsenic, aluminum, cadmium and lead.