Engr. Sustines Balanag, North Cotabato provincial agriculturist. (Photo courtesy of North Cotabato IDCD-PGO)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – To know the nutrient status of their farmlands, North Cotabato Provincial Agriculturist Sustines Balanag encouraged farmers to avail of free soil analysis at the Amas Research and Experiment Station of the Department of Agriculture here.

“All the farmer needs to do is to submit air-dried soil samples from their farms to the station’s laboratory and come back for the results after a few days,” Balanag said in an interview Tuesday.

Soil analysis is used to determine the average nutrient status of an area and to give a measure of the available nutrients in the soil, he said.

“The quantity of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper, and zinc available in the soil samples tested also determine the amount of fertilizer that is required,” Balanag said.

A soil test also measures the acidity and alkalinity of farmland, humid matter, and exchangeable acidity.

“These analyses indicate whether lime is needed and how much to apply,” Balanag said, adding the results of soil analysis are only as good as the sample on which it is based.

A sample normally consists of 0.25 – 0.5 kilograms of soil and is taken to represent the entire sampling area or field, he said.

To capacitate farmers in proper soil sampling, Balanag said their office regularly holds free training for farmers, the most recent of which was in Purok 2, Manubuan, Matalam for 19 agrarian reform beneficiaries. (PNA)