Did you know that it is vital for farmers to have their soil tested before, during and after planting? Well, now you do. Soil acidity is one of the important factors that can only be determined by having your soil tested. Some crops can do well in more acidic soils while others in less acidic or neutral soils. Some of the factors that affect the soil’s acidity are the amount of rainfall/water available, crop and the fertilizers used on the soil. Another benefit of testing the soil is the satisfaction of knowing its nutritional value. Knowledge of your soil’s nutritional value will help you source out for crops that can do well in your virgin soil. Some soils are rich with some nutrients and lacking in others hence knowing the type of crop that can do well on it is necessary. For example, black soils have moderate amounts of phosphorous but poor in nitrogen. Rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, groundnut, millet and oil-seeds do well in this type of soils. Additionally, knowing the nutritional value of your soil will best help you determine the type of fertilizer to use on it for better crop yields. If you find out that your soil is having some considerable amounts of phosphorous but lacking in nitrogen, it is definite that you should go for a fertilizer that is rich in Nitrogen and low in Phosphorus depending on what nutrients your crop need. Having soil tested therefore plays a vital role in guiding towards which crop to plant or which fertilizers to use in order to achieve better crop yields. This way, as a farmer you will be contributing in steering the country towards achieving one of the Big 4 agendas; food security. The National Irrigation Board has two research centres from which you can have your soil’s nutritional value tested: Mwea Irrigation Agriculture Development and Ahero Irrigation Research Station. As you plan on your planting and organic/inorganic fertilizer usage, get your soil tested and advice concerning the results. We not only care about getting you water to your farm, we have gone the extra mile to help you get the most from what you sow.

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