People in a field digging with shovels

Field sampling requires planning and hard work, but it can also be fun. | Photo courtesy of Pacific Regional Soil Science Society. Flickr. This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 License.

Sampling is a critical stage of any research.  Your analysis and results can only be as good as your sample.  Take the time to make a sampling plan that takes into account why you are sampling, what you want to know, and the attributes of your specific site and system.

Soil Water Sampling

When sampling for gravimetric soil water content, be sure that the samples are kept in tightly closed containers, so that the original moisture level is maintained for measurement in the laboratory.

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References & Resources

  • B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. 2005. Soil Sampling for Nutrient Management.
    Nutrient Management Factsheet.
  • Belanger, N., and K.C.J. Van Rees. 2008. Sampling forest soils. In Carter, M.R., and E.G. Gregorich (eds). Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. 2nd ed. Canadian Society of Soil Science, CRC Press and Taylor & Francis Group. Oxford, UK.
  • James, D.W., and K.L. Wells. 1990. Soil sample collection and handling: technique based on source and degree of field variability. In Westerman, R.L. (ed.) Soil Testing and Plant Analysis. 3rd edition. ASA-SSSA, Madison, WI.
  • Jones, C, and J. Jacobsen. 2005. Soil Sampling and Laboratory Selection. Nutrient Management Module (No. 1).
    Montana State University Extension Service.
  • Kryzanowski, L. 2005. Soil Sampling and Crop Nutrient Requirements: Critical Tools for the Nutrient Management Toolkit.
    Crop Diversification Centre – North, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.  [Accessed 13 May 2010].
  • Pennock, D., T. Yates, and J. Braidek. 2008. Soil sampling designs. In Carter, M.R., and E.G. Gregorich (eds). Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. 2nd ed. Canadian Society of Soil Science, CRC Press and Taylor & Francis Group. Oxford, UK.
  • Petersen, R.G., and L.D. Calvin. 1996. Sampling In Sparks, D.L. (ed). 1996.  Methods of Soil Analysis: Chemical Methods. Part 3. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Book Series No. 5. ASA-SSSA, Madison, WI.
  • Soil Survey Staff. 2009. Soil Survey Field and Laboratory Methods Manual. Soil Survey
    Investigations Report No. 51, Version 1.0. R. Burt (ed.). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Version 2.0 (2014) available at: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_052226.pdf
  • Sheppard, S.C., and J.A. Addison. 2008. Soil sample handling and storage. In Carter, M.R., and E.G. Gregorich (eds). Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. 2nd ed. Canadian Society of Soil Science, CRC Press and Taylor & Francis Group. Oxford, UK.

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