Return to the Soil Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
soil test cost

Posted by sgull AK (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 16:34

Upon checking in the soil and pH testing FAQ questions at this site, it says basic soil tests can usually cost around $10 but I notice they're wanting $40 for a basic soil test at the extension service in my state. Isn't that rather high, or is the $10 charge for such a test probably how much it might have might have cost in the past sometime, before inflation or whatever?

Here is a link that might be useful: soil test cost my state


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: soil test cost

That is disappointingly crazy high for what you get.

I understand large-scale agriculture isn't big there and they have to pay for the equipment that not many will use, but $40 for pH + NPK is crazy.

The "add-ons" that are pretty much standard (aside from texture) on most soil reports costing $45 more is mind blowing coming from a cooperative extension service.

At those prices this could be a case where sourcing an out-of-state test might not only make sense, it can probably save some money.


 o
RE: soil test cost

Yeah, that high price is definitely discouraging me from getting the soil tested, and as well even from getting a garden started. Dangit. I was hoping to get a few different samples tested from different locations. That would be 80 bucks, sheesh. Plus on top of that the shipping cost of the samples from my location to the testing place.
Wish I had a more affordable alternative.


 o
RE: soil test cost

Think about how much produce you can buy from a good grocery store with 40 bucks.....


 o
RE: soil test cost

Yeah but I'd been intending on planting/growing flowers, not produce. Regardless, guess I'll just forget about planting/growing flowers, or anything for that matter, if it's such a big expense just to at least get a basic soil test which I would think would be an otherwise practical/sensible thing to have done.

This post was edited by sgull on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 13:25


 o
RE: soil test cost

Not all tests are the same. Here's a list of possible things you might be getting:

P, K
N (separate test, sometimes included, sometimes extra)
Major minerals Ca, Mg,
Trace minerals Cu, Fe, Mn etc.
Organic matter
pH
Total cation exchange capacity (CEC)

For that money I would be expecting all of these and a cappuccino. :-]


 o
RE: soil test cost

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 14:26

It is possible to get set up and begin testing soil pH, using indicator dye, for around 20 dollars. The test solutions, supplied in one fluid ounce vials, would be sufficient for about 100 pH tests, so that works out to 20 cents per pH test. However, people have been planting crops and growing gardens, successfully, since long before modern soil science was invented. There is trial and error involved, and there is some effort involved in making your own compost, and using manure, or fish entrails, to provide nitrogen. Have you visited other gardens in your area, and seen what other local people are growing?


 o
RE: soil test cost

Yes, I realize there will likely be a lot of trial and error involved but I was hoping to minimize that. I suppose I could try to consider the trial and error part of the fun. I was reading up on composting and it seems like a complicated science itself which probably involves quite a bit of trial and error too (more fun).

Guess I could ask around at other people's successful-looking gardens and see if they're willing to share any of their secrets.


 o
RE: soil test cost

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 19:55

If the AK in your initial post means Alaska, then we can reasonably expect that you will have a short growing season, but with really long hours of daylight. You might have volcanic soil, I'm not sure about that. It would help to know if your neighbors are routinely putting down agricultural lime on their garden plots.


 o
RE: soil test cost

My location is actually SE (panhandle) of Alaska where we do indeed probably have a relatively short growing season, but not necessarily the really long hours of daylight like way up north. I've heard we have acidic soil here although I did a pH test with one of those cheap store-bought testers (probably unreliable) and it says pH neutral. But I'll check into it further to find out for sure.


 o
RE: soil test cost

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 22:36

If you have blueberries, cranberries, or rhododendrons growing locally, then you very likely have the same acidic soil in your yard. On the other hand, if there are local limestone outcrops, or if you have hard water, and lime deposits in the teakettle, then you might have alkaline soil pH.


 o
RE: soil test cost

What does that soil test consist of. Anytime you are comparing prices you need to compare apples to apples. If the test is for something more then just pH, P, K, Ca, and MG and OM $40.00 may be too high.
Alaska soils tend to be acidic, peat, permafrost, etc.


 o
RE: soil test cost

Everything costs more in Alaska.


 o
RE: soil test cost

I did some additional checking/comparison of different labs/costs. I came across an outfit in Ohio that does an even more complete test for less expense.
Info says they offer a particular package for Alaskan soils.
"In addition to the basic Alaska soil test requirements, you will receive results
for organic matter, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, iron, cation exchange capacity and percent base saturation. Cost: $16.50 per sample." Probably cost me a lot more to send it there from here though, so that may offset the potential savings. I'll have to figure it out.


 o
RE: soil test cost

University of Massachusettes will do a basic test, including heavy metals, for $10.00.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Soil Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here