Management of Soil Testing Laboratories

Management of Soil Testing Laboratories

Monile Soil Testing  Van, Use of Soil Test kit.

1. Organization of soil testing laboratory. The soil testing laboratory is a production line “ Raw materials” , soil samples are received and one end and the “Finished products” report emerges at the other end. The production line consists of a series of operation which must be performed in a logic sequence often with operations, proceeding simultaneously. The output of soil testing production is determined by the extent to which properly design spaces, appropriate equipment, carefully chosen method of analysis , strict quality control and comptant staff, are integrated into an efficient system of operation.

1. Physical Facilities:

a. Soil preparation room: 10 X 10 incoming samples are dried, ground.
b. Sample storage ‘7X 20.
c. Main laboratory: All routine analysis are cared out size 20 X 40.
d. Research room: 10X 10: A dual purpose room in which facilities for special work are provided on the bench along one side.
e. Chemical storage room: ‘10X 18’  
f. General office: ‘10X 18’
g. Hall: ‘6 X 18’
h. Offic : ‘10X11’
i. Toilet and wash room

Laboratory Equipment and Instruments:

Estimated requirements of scientific apparatus, equipment and for a new soil testing laboratory to analysis 30,000 sample per year.

1. Conductivity bridge
2. Shaking apparatus
3. PH meter
4. Rincing and stirring
5. Photoelectric colourimeter
6. Flame photometer
7. Centrifuge
8. Analytical balance.
9. Triple beam balance
10. Multiple dispensing equipment
11. Washing assembly
12. Pipetting assembly
13. Calculating machine
14. Constant holtage stabilizer
15. Water distillery
16. Oven
17. Air compressor


Staff required for a new soil testing laboratory with a capacity of 30, 09000 samples per year.




No of Posts


Soil chemist I/C

Post graduate in soil chemistry



Research Asst.

Post graduate in soil chemistry




PG in agronomy



Analytical Asstt.

Degree in chemistry




H.Sc with typing



Laboratory Att

Literacy with a lab experience



Driver to jeep

Literacy with a driving experience


b. Responsibility to be chalked out for Analytical Work:
1. Soil Chemist: Over all supervision
2. Chem. Res, Asstt: Supervise the analytical work, take the final readings of the estimation and complete the calculations.
3. Analytical att: a supervision of all receiving and preparation of soil samples.
4. Agronomy Res. Asst. Make recommendation and pass it.

2. Mobile Soil Test Van:

A mobile van equipped with usual laboratory instrument commonly needed spare parts, some chemicals and other materials likely to be needed in the field and staffed with one technician who under stands laboratory techniques and operations. One technician trained in instrumentation and a driver.

1. Staff: I/C:

In charge Officer: 1.
Lab Asstt: 2
Lab Attendant: 3
Driver: 1
2. Materials and Equipments:

a. Last ten check samples with result sheets.
b. Spare parts.
1. Electrodes for PH meter.
2. Glass atomizer for flame photometer.
3. Conductivity Cell
4. Lamps – for colourimeter
5. Filter for colourimeter

c. Standard solutions for phosphorous, potassium and organic carbon.
d. Glasswares
e. Chemicals
f. Weighing scoop
g. Campe hairbrushes
h. Instruments

1. PH meter
2. Colourimeter
3. Flame photometer
4. Conductivity bridge
5. Vacuum pump
6. Platining kit
7. Shaking machine

The van and some members of quality control programme are directed to tour to those laboratories having analytical problems, as indicated by discrepancies in the check samples reports as well as these having some instrument problems. When an instrument is out of order and can not be repaired on the spot, one is taken from the van for use by the laboratory until the defective instrument can be repaired. This ensures the laboratory of good equipment and prevents slow down in operation.

3. Soil Test Kit:

Soil test and quick test have been developed to speed up the availability of soil test information. These permit immediate examination of soil, water and plant material in the field or on the individual farm itself. Test kits, are designed to be complete units of equipment. The procedure involves in these tests is essentially. 1) Extraction of plant sap, salts, and exchangeable bases of nutrients by means suitable extracting reagents and 2) Their subsequent estimation by colorimeter or other suitable quick methods. The useful soil test kit procedures (quick test) were adopted from the work done at IARI, U.S, salinity laboratory and the university of California. Although the tests may be far from perfect, they can be extremely useful in diagnosing the soils and plant growth problems and in appear soil from the of their production potentials. The test results themselves generally mean very little their proper interpretations depend a largely upon the background and knowledge of the field man using the kit.

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