NCDA&CS agronomist Don Nicholson shows viewers step-by-step how to take a good soil sample

by | Aug 11, 2011

Our department’s Agronomic Lab processes more than 350,000 soil samples every year from farmers, weekend gardeners, homeowners and landscape professionals. Clearly, plenty of people are aware of this valuable service which can help you improve your yard, boost yields from your crops and reduce the application of unnecessary soil additives. But when it comes to taking a soil sample, laboratory staff and regional agronomists get lots of questions on how to take a good sample.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we caught up recently with Don Nicholson, regional agronomist for Harnett, Johnston, Wake, Wayne and Wilson counties, to get some tips on taking a soil sample. Nicholson explains the process in the video below.


Regional agronomists, such as Nicholson, are available to help growers with crop-specific nutrient and nematode issues, to establish appropriate agronomic sampling programs and implement management recommendations that are cost-effective and environmentally sound. To locate a regional agronomist for your area, go here.

Summer is a great time of year for homeowners to take samples from their yards or gardens for testing. The turn-around time is shorter than fall or winter when the bulk of farm samples come into the lab. Information on packaging and shipping samples, including addresses for the Agronomic Lab, can be found here.