Acid-extractable Phosphorus (9G1)

This test is often referred to as BSES-P. Soil extracts are obtained by shaking milled air-dry soil at a ratio of 1:200 (w/v) with 0.005M sulfuric acid for 16 h. Method 9G1 codes the manual analytical finish of Truog and Meyer, with absorbance at 660 nm. Method 9G2 codes automated analytical finishes (continuous segmented flow and flow injection analysis) based on molybdenum-blue and a preferred absorbance of 882 nm. The methods specify reporting results as mg P/kg on an air-dry basis.

Air dry moisture content (2A1)

This method is required to adjust soil chemical results based on air-dry samples to an oven-dry (105oC)
basis. When the air-dry moisture content (M%) is known, the correction from air-dry
to oven-dry is as follows:


            Oven-dry result  =   [Air-dry result  x  (100+ M%)]/100


Nitrate Nitrogen (7C2)

Initially, milled air-dry soil is extracted for 1 h with 2M KCl at a 1:10 soil/solution ratio. For 7C1a to 7C1h methods, mineral-N components are quantified by steam distillations and subsequent titrations. For 7C2 methods, mineral-N fractions in the clarified soil extract are determined by automated colorimetric procedures. Ammonium ions (NH4+) are measured by a modified Berthelot indophenol reaction, while the Griess-Ilosvay reaction is used for NO3-N (and NO2-N). The methods specify reporting results for NH4-N and NO3-N [plus NO2-N if present], respectively, as mg N/kg on an oven-dry (105oC) basis. Specifically, method 7C2a relates to an automated colour, continuous segmented flow analytical finish, while Method 7C2b codes an automated colour finish by flow injection analysis. Little difference is expected in results due to choice of colorimetric finish.


CaCl2 extractable B - colorimetric (12C1)

The soil is extracted with boiling 0.01M Cacl2 solution at a 1:2 soil:solution ratio for 10 mins.  It is then quickly filtered to avoid any re-fixation of the solubilised B.  The extract is then analysed colorimetrically for B using Azomethine-H.


Bicarbonate Extractable Phosphorus - Colwell (9B1)

This popular Australian P test on milled air-dry sample is suitable for acidic, neutral and alkaline soils. The extractant is freshly prepared 0.5M sodium bicarbonate @ pH 8.5. The wide soil/extractant ratio of 1:100 and an extended shaking time of 16 h favours readily available and more slowly available forms of soil P, while suppressing the solubility of basic calcium phosphates often found in neutral and alkaline soils. Method 9B1 describes a manual, molybdenum-blue colorimetric procedure with a preferred absorbance at 882 nm, whereas Method 9B2 refers to the same initial soil extraction, followed by an equivalent automated molybdenum-blue colorimetric finish (continuous segmented flow or flow injection analysis). The methods specify reporting results as mg P/kg on an air-dry basis.


Electrical conductivity (EC) of 1:5 soil/water extract (3A1)

This test on milled air-dry sample at a soil/water ratio of 1:5 for 1 h is suitable for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline. It usually underestimates the soluble salt status of soils containing natural or added gypsum, particularly if ³ 1% of gypsum is present. Such soils would have an EC of about 2 dS/m. Soil EC x 0.336 (Method 3B1) approximates percent total soluble salts, while approximate soil ionic strength (Method 3C1) at 0.1 bar (I0.1) can be calculated as follows: I0.1 = [0.0446*EC1:5 – 0.000173], where I0.1 has units of mM, and EC1:5 has units of dS/m @ 25oC.


Exchangeable Acidity (15G1)


Exchange acidity (hydrogen and aluminium) by 1M potassium chloride

This is a preferred method for estimating the acidic cation status of acidic sub-tropical and tropical soils.



Exchangeable Bases - Ammonium Acetate (15D3)


Exchangeable bases - 1M ammonium acetate at pH 7.0.


This rapid method for exchangeable cations in non-saline acidic through to slightly alkaline soils has no pre-treatment for soluble salts. It should yield similar data to those of method 15A1, except it can overestimate exchangeable Ca in soils containing calcium carbonate.


DTPA Trace Elements (12A1)

Soils are extracted with 0.005M DTPA, at a 1:2 soil:solution ratio, and shaken for 2 hr at 25oC.  Analytical finish is either ICP-AES or Flame AAS.


Organic carbon - W & B (6A1)

This measure of soil organic carbon (OCW&B; expressed as %C) usually yields a lower figure than the true total organic carbon value. The method uses finely-milled air-dry sample. It involves wet oxidation by a dichromate-sulphuric acid mixture and relies only on heat of reaction. Soil weight should take account of the expected concentration of OC, and it is expected that allowance will be made for positive soluble Cl‑ interference in soils containing >0.5% Cl. The method specifies reporting on an oven-dry (105oC) basis. Nowadays this method is less preferred than 6B methods.


pH of 1:5 soil/water suspension (4A1)

This test on milled air-dry sample involves mechanical shaking with deionised water in a closed system for 1 h at a soil/water ratio of 1:5 prior to pH measurement using calibrated electrodes, while stirring the soil/water suspension. The method is suitable for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline. Values may be lower than expected on recently fertilised soils due to a temporary increase in soil solution ionic strength.