Submit soil samples now to avoid busy lab time and peak-season fees.

by | Nov 15, 2022

The Agronomic Services soil testing lab will soon enter its busiest time and anticipates implementing a peak-season fee beginning Dec. 1. Growers have a few weeks left to submit soil samples to avoid the rush and the fees. Soil testing is a free service outside the peak season. The peak-season fee is $4 per sample.

  • I always like to give growers a heads up before the Agronomic Services soil testing lab implements its annual peak-season testing fee.
  • This year we anticipate the peak-season fee will be in place from Dec. 1 to March 31, 2023. During that time period, testing of soil samples will be $4 per sample. Normally, they are free.
  • Growers still have a couple of weeks to submit soil samples before the peak-season fee goes into effect.
  • The idea behind the peak-season fee was to hopefully spread out the busy time to reduce wait times for results.
  • The number of samples we typically get in during the peak season is staggering. It is not unusual to walk down a hall and see samples stacked head high. There are also numerous roughly 4-foot-square rolling bins that have boxed samples stacked in them in holding rooms.
  • Encouraging growers to submit their samples in November or encouraging homeowners to wait until April to submit soil samples, helps spread out the crush of samples coming in at one time.
  • Even the fees collected go into reducing the wait time for test results.
  • Over the years, we have invested in automated equipment that can collect and prep multiple samples at a time. That has been extremely helpful as this work had all been done by hand.
  • We also hire temporary staff with the funds to prep the samples for testing.
  • These improvements help the soil testing lab AND growers year-round.
  • We do ask growers to submit soil samples in one of the “official” soil sample boxes provided by the Agronomic Services Division. You can pick these up at the lab on Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh or through local cooperative extension offices.
  • Being in these boxes helps ensure our lab receives enough soil for a test since the boxes are marked with an easy-to-see “fill line.”
  • In terms of processing, these boxes help staff prep them for sampling.
  • Samples need to be in the Agronomic soil testing lab by end of day on Nov. 30 to avoid the peak-season fee.
  • Anyone with questions can call the Agronomic Division at 919-664-1600.