Water Quality

It is very important that farmers, particularly those in western Ohio, focus on water quality and the activities that they are doing in their fields that are going to matter to water quality. Here's a quick video about Extension's work in water quality.



Individuals wanting a test for yard or garden soil can contact one of the following labs and the lab will send sample bags and instructions for collecting and shipping soil samples.

The Hancock County Extension Office can assist with the interpretation of the results if there are any questions. 

A & L Great Lakes Laboratories, Inc.
Ft. Wayne, IN

Spectrum Analytic, Inc.
Washington Courthouse, OH

What is a soil test?

A soil test is a process by which elements (phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc) are chemically removed from the soil and measured for their "plant available content". The quantity of available nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer that is recommended.

A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and exchangeable acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed, and if so, how much to apply.

Why do I need a soil test?

  • Encourages plant growth by providing the best lime and fertilizer recommendations
  • Diagnoses whether there is too little or too much of a nutrient
  • Promotes environmental quality
  • Saves money that might otherwise be spent on unneeded lime and fertilizer

Taking a good sample

A soil sample must be taken at the right time and in the right way.

Things that influence the sample quality are:

  1. Tools used
  2. Area sampled
  3. Depth and the correct mix of the sample
  4. Information provided and packaging