Soil Analysis

Soil sampling allows you to optimize yields, minimize fertilizer costs

Managing the nutrient content of the soil is one key to the optimum performance of any plant whether it is your lawn or a commercial crop. Over or under application of essential plant nutrients can be costly in terms of yield, quality, and the environment.

An agronomic soil test extracts a portion of the plant-available nutrients contained in a soil sample and results are then classified as low, medium, high, or very high based on expected crop response to added crop nutrients. Crops grown on soils that test high to very high for a specific nutrient are not likely to respond with a yield increase if that nutrient is applied to the soil. However, soils testing low or medium for that nutrient are likely to show improved yield and quality if that nutrient is applied (provided other nutrients are present in adequate amounts).

Soil Health and Analysis

Soil can be analyzed on a physical, chemical, and biological level. Physical analysis could include attributes such as density, texture, hardness, and aggregate stability. Biological attributes include organic matter, microbial respiration, or the nutrient supplying ability of nematode, fungal, and bacteria populations. Chemical analysis seeks to determine pH and nutrient levels. Dairy One offers soil testing packages that can provide information on all three levels as well as a variety of soil extraction methods to meet the demands of local land grant universities including Mehlich 3, Morgan, and Modified Morgan procedures.  Additionally, through an arrangement with Cornell University, New York customers can receive Cornell-generated recommendations.  Decades of research have gone into developing these state-specific recommendations and we are proud to partner with Cornell to make them available to New York producers.


There are 16 nutrient elements required to grow all plants and crops. However, soils vary in their ability to provide the correct balance of nutrients for a number of reasons including soil type, environment, crop removal, and application of soil amendments including manure, compost, commercial fertilizer, or crop residues.


Solvita VAST (Volumetric Aggregate Stability Test): Measures quality of soil structure or “tilth”. Soil structure determines infiltration of rainfall, water-holding capacity, air movement, rooting depth, soil productivity.


Solvita SLAN (Solvita TM Labile Amino Nitrogen): Measures organic nitrogen compounds easily mineralized or made available as nutrients for plant growth.

CO2 Burst: Measures active respiration by soil microorganisms in lab incubation of wetted soil sample during 24 hrs. Higher numbers indicate viable diverse populations and more organic matter to feed organisms.

Soil Health Assessment

A soil health assessment is a comprehensive analysis of the soil that measures attributes associated with physical, chemical, and biological processes. For a proper assessment of your soil’s health, add (860) Solvita CO2 Burst, SLAN, and VAST to any analysis as a supplemental service.

Note on Cornell Recommendations Provided in the Report:

The recommendations generated for this report are based in part on fertility guidelines for New York State crops and soils published by Cornell University from 2003-2015. All interpretations in the report are made solely by Dairy One and assume the following: 1) accurate identification of the type of soil by the client submitting the sample, and 2) soil is sampled from within New York State.  Dairy One is solely responsible for the accuracy of all soil test inputs and for adhering to soil testing procedures that are the basis for Cornell University fertility guidelines.  Cornell University is not responsible for any recommendations made by Dairy One.