Soil Analysis

Three types of soil analysis reports are available to assist in the interpretation of soil nutrient status. These are:

a) MAFF Standard Soil Analysis – Short Test

• Soil pH
• P (Available) mg/I
• K (Available) mg/I
• Mg (Available) mg/I

The MAFF Standard Soil Analysis and the Irish short soil tests only require a small portion of soil in the sample box:

Example of Short Soil Sample

b) Intermediate Analysis
This analysis is recommended for fields that have been previously tested using the Full Mineral Analysis. While giving more information than the basic MAFF test, it does not give the full depth analysis required to give the complete picture required for fields being tested for the first time.

Example of Intermediate Soil Sample

c) Full Mineral Analysis – Full Test
This report extends the MAFF soil test by expressing macro-elements (K, Mg, Ca, Na, H) in terms of % cation exchange capacity. In addition, a full range of trace elements are analysed. The purpose of this report is to assess the overall “available” nutrient status of the soil from which both fertiliser and foliar applications can be recommended. This analysis is intended for fields being tested for the first time.

For the full test it is essential that the sample box is completely full:

Example of Full Soil Sample

The MAFF short test and the more comprehensive soil analysis have been combined into a single report.


The purpose of this combined report is not only to enable an interpretation of the soil analysis to be undertaken quickly by reference to a coloured line in a “Very Low-Low-Mean-High-Very High” band, but also to produce fertiliser recommendations. These take the form of recommending N-P-K-S soil based fertilisers (kg/hectare).


Type of Test


1.    MAFF  Standard pH, P, K, Mg
2.  Intermediate pH, P, K, Mg, Organic Matter %, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), CEC % Ca, Mg, K, Na, H, Others
3.  Full Detail pH, P, K, Mg, Organic Matter %, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), CEC %, Ca, Mg, K, Na, H, Others, Trace elements, Conductivity, Macro-nutrients (C:N ratio,Sulphur, Total P), Solvita CO2 Burst Test*, Texture (% sand, silt, clay)

* Allows a much more precise assessment of the “good” microbes within your soil than with the old Microbial TPF Assay.


What are the benefits?

  1. Improved yields with increased efficiency of fertiliser utilisation.
  2. Enhanced microbial activity in the soil improving nutrient availability to plant roots and aeration.
  3. Faster integration of organic matter into the soil structure itself, allowing improved nutrient levels and water holding capacity of the soil.
  4. Better, faster, stronger root development allowing crop plants to out compete weed infestation.
  5. Soils able to recover from compaction.
  6. Crops of better nutrient density, palatability and conservation quality.
  7. Improved crop and livestock disease resistance, health and productivity.
Click for PDF File Example – Full Soil Analysis Report

Click for PDF File Example – Full Soil Analysis Report (Teagasc)

Click for PDF File – Soil Analysis Report Interpretation

Click for PDF File – Which Soils to Sample


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