Farmers and homeowners are reminded to submit soil samples now to the Agronomic Services lab to avoid peak-season fees. The fees are expected to take effect Dec. 1 this year.
I like to try to remind growers and homeowners as we get closer to the peak time for soil sampling to get their samples in before peak-season fees go into effect. You have about a month to do that.
Our Agronomic Services Division expects the fees to go into effect Dec. 1, so samples submitted prior to that date would be processed without a fee.
Farmers have until 5 p.m. Nov. 30 to get their samples in before the $4 fee goes into effect.
Peak season is expected to run Dec. 1 through March 31.
The peak-season fee has had a couple of significant benefits. Namely, it spreads out the time when samples are submitted to the lab, which allows us to process samples in a more timely fashion. The fees collected also have allowed us to re-invest the money into new equipment.
Before this fee period went into effect, turnaround times were longer because so many samples would come in during a narrow window of time.
It was not uncommon to see the halls of the Agronomic Services labs lined from floor to the ceiling with samples waiting to be tested. Now they are spaced out a bit better, but there are still a very steady stream of samples that come in during peak season.
As a grower, it makes good sense to take soil samples, even if you end up paying for testing. By pinpointing your actual soil needs, you can save significantly on input costs.
We have seen prices on the rise in many sectors of the economy and that is certainly true with agricultural inputs, including fertilizer.
Soil sampling can save you money.
Fine-tuning nutrient requirements also helps ensure you are only adding the exact nutrients that are needed to maximize production, which is also good for the environment.
We have been fortunate to be able to keep the fees collected for soil samples and invest that money back into lab upgrades and to hire additional seasonal workers to help with the increased workloads.
Our Agronomic Services Division has worked with the engineering department and students at N.C. State University in the past to design machines specific to our soil labs needs.
It has provided students with a real-world problem to solve and has allowed us to get a piece of equipment that fits into our operation and greatly improves our efficiency. That is a win-win in my book.
Soil samples must be submitted with completed paperwork, which can be found online at our Agronomic Services webpage.
Soil samples can be dropped off at the loading dock at the Eaddy Building at 4300 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh.
During the fee period, samples can only be dropped off between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for state holidays. There will be no after-hours drop-off times once peak season goes into effect.
If you have questions about the process, you can call our Agronomic Services Division at 919-733-2655.