Late December and early January are ideally suited to soil sampling.

Grassland will be rested by this point of the year and samples taken will not give a false reading from livestock manure.

The results from the soil samples will also give information on where to target slurry and fertiliser this spring.


When sampling soils, take cores every 10 to 15 steps as you walk across a field. Walking in a zig-zag or random direction will give a better sample of the field compared to walking in a straight line.

If you do not have a soil corer, use a spade and take samples from the top two to three inches of clay. Place all soil cores in a bucket.

When finished, mix the cores and fill a plastic bag that can be properly sealed, then label it with the field name.

As a rule, the maximum sample area should be 10 acres. For larger fields, take multiple samples as necessary.

For smaller fields of one to two acres that get similar fertiliser treatments, the sample can be doubled up to cut down on the sampling costs.