PAAG Report on soil analysis 2019

First published: 20 December 2019

Digging soil (Countryside online)_53743

Results are reported for statistical collation of soil analytical data provided by participants in the Professional Agricultural Analysis Group (PAAG). For the current year results for around 195,000 samples were available, an increase of 8,000 samples in the previous report.

Some participants provided data that could be broken down by arable and grass as the current crop and datasets were constructed to allow collation within this breakdown.

Conclusions should be drawn cautiously as the data were not necessarily representative of all UK fields and data collations were not statistically rigorous.

However, some general points can be made:

  • Soil pH was <6.0 in 19% of arable samples and <5.5 in 19% of grassland samples. During the period covered by PAAG reports, mean soil pH has decreased steadily in arable samples from around 7.0 to 6.6. There seems a need to address liming on significant proportions of arable and grassland areas.
  • For both arable and grassland, around 30% of samples were at target P Index 2 and 29% (arable) and 26% (grassland) samples were at target K Index 2-. Just 9% of all samples were at target Indices for both P and K.
  • Soil P index was lower than target in 22% of arable and 34% of grassland samples. K Index was lower than target in 24% of arable and 41% of grassland targets. Use of potash for grassland especially seems in need of attention.
  • Soil P Index was higher than target in 50% of arable and 26% of grassland samples. During the period covered by PAAG reports, mean Olsen-P has increased in arable samples from around 27 mg/l to 31 mg/l but has remained fairly stable around 25 mg/l in grassland samples.
  • 11% of arable samples and 3% of grassland samples were in Mg Indices 0 or 1 where application of magnesium might be recommended for some crops.

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