Alabama: Interpreting Soil Test Reports

Most Alabama soils are naturally low in plant-available nutrients and must be fertilized to maintain crop production. Soil testing is critical to improve soil fertility for production of row-crops, specialty crops, and forages.

Producers increasingly rely on commercial soil testing laboratories to provide nutrient recommendations for crops. To make best-management decisions for maintaining soil fertility, it is important to understand the basics of soil testing and reporting, whether you use a public or a commercial soil testing laboratory.

The publication, “Interpreting Soil Test Reports for Commercial Labs” Put together by Charles Mitchell, Professor Emeritus, both in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Auburn University and Audrey Gamble, Extension Specialist, Assistant Professor explains the basics of soil testing.

In the publication you will learn:

  • how soil testing labs determine fertilizer/lime requirements,
  • explains how/when it is possible to convert to Auburn University fertilizer/lime recommendations using reports from other laboratories, and
  • provides definitions for values which may be included on reports from commercial labs or non-routine reports but are not reported on Auburn University routine soil test report, like CEC and base saturation .

Please see the new ANR fact sheet “Interpreting Soil Test Reports for Commercial Labs” Reference No. ANR-2481 here for more details.


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