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MSU offers soil sampling after brief hiatus

Michigan State University Extension is launching a new soil testing program after the closing of the MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory at the end of last year.

Soil health educator Christina Curell tells Brownfield the cost of upgrading and staffing the lab after a few key retirements were not the best use of resources.

“It was felt that the best use of public resources was to close the lab and work in partnership with a commercial lab that had more resources and already had the equipment needed,” she explains.

Curell says the biggest change for farmers is how samples are now ordered since the East Lansing lab is closed.

“They have to go through the MSU Extension office to get a bag,” she explains.

She says about 3,000 commercial soil samples are analyzed each year through MSU.  Extension will now send samples to A&L Great Lakes Laboratories, Inc. in Indiana for testing and educators will still provide fertilizer recommendations for commercial and residential use.

Curell recommends soil testing ahead of planting or in the fall.

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