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Bray 1 - P (9E1)

This extractable P test on milled air-dry sample uses a weakly acidic fluoride containing extractant (0.025M HCl and 0.03M NH4F). The soil/extractant ratio of 1:7 and a very short extraction time of 60 sec, making it prone to significant variability.  It is used to predict yield responses in legumne-based pastures on acid to neutral soils in NSW, but not really used elsewhere.  Method 9E1 involves a manual, molybdenum-blue colorimetric finish with a preferred absorbance at 882 nm.

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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.

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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.

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Exchangeable Bases - Ammonium Chloride (15A1)

Method for measuring exchangeable bases (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+) - 1M ammonium chloride at pH 7.0

 

Suited for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline, but preferred on acidic to weakly alkaline soils not dominated by solid-phase carbonates. Method 15A1 has no pre-treatment to remove soluble salts, with alternatives to remove them chemically (15A2) or to adjust for the presence of soluble sodium (15A3).

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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.

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KCl-ext.S (10D1)

Empirical extraction at 40oC in 0.25M KCl, for 3 hours.  Total S in the extract is measured by ICP-AES.

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Extractable Phosphorus - Olsen (9C1)

This extractable P test on milled air-dry sample uses freshly prepared 0.5M sodium bicarbonate @ pH 8.5 as the extractant. The soil/extractant ratio of 1:20 and a relatively short extraction time of 30 min favours readily available forms of soil P, while suppressing the solubility of basic calcium phosphates often found in neutral and alkaline soils. Method 9C1 involves a manual, molybdenum-blue colorimetric finish with a preferred absorbance at 882 nm. Method 9C2a defines an equivalent automated molybdenum-blue continuous segmented flow analytical finish, while Method 9C2b codes an automated colour finish by flow injection analysis. No significant difference is expected in results due to the analytical finishes described. The methods specify reporting results as mg P/kg on an air-dry basis.
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pH: 1:5 SOIL:0.01M CaCL2 Suspension (4B2)

This pH test on milled air-dry sample is suitable for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline. Values are usually unaffected by fertilisation prior to sampling, as changes to the soil’s ionic strength is masked by the calcium chloride. Code 4B1 indicates direct use of 0.01M CaCl2, at a soil/solution ratio of 1:5, with mechanical shaking for 1 h prior to pH measurement using calibrated electrodes positioned in the unstirred supernatant after settling of the suspension. Code 4B2 provides a similar measurement outcome but relies on the addition of 0.21M CaCl2 to a 1:5 soil/water suspension to achieve 0.01M CaCl2 prior to measurement of pH as for 4B1.

Codes 4B3 and 4B4 are identical to 4B1 and 4B2, respectively, except the soil/CaCl2 suspensions are stirred during measurement. Method 4B5 codes for an MIR surrogate measurement. There is merit in separate use of both water and calcium chloride to measure soil pH.

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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.
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Total soil N – Dumas high-temperature combustion (7A5)

This method utilises automated and/or microprocessor controlled instrumentation, which mostly is able to measure at least total C, N and S in the same sample. Dumas-N dry oxidation includes all forms of soil N, without the need for lengthy pre-treatments, although results can occasionally differ from those expected in soils with high levels of fixed ammonium-N (lower results) and when soils are organically rich (high results, due to incomplete combustion resulting in the formation of methane rather than CO2). Typically, dry, finely-ground sample is subjected to high-temperature combustion (e.g. 950–1,250oC) in a stream of purified O2. An aliquot of the gases produced by combustion is carried by helium gas to a thermal conductivity cell for measurement of any N2 generated, a process typically taking 3–5 min. A heated copper catalyst reduces NOx to N2. The method specifies reporting results as %N on an oven-dry (105oC) basis.
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Not Specified or mixed (NS)

The laboratory either did not specify the method used or uses a mix of methods when submitting to the certification body

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Chloride - 1:5 soil/water extract (5A1)

Tests for water-soluble chloride (Cl) on milled air-dry sample are suitable for use on all soils. For method 5A1, Cl‑ in clarified 1:5 soil/water extracts is determined by potentiometric titration with AgNO3 in conjunction with an Ag/AgNO3 electrode array. For method 5A2a, Cl‑ in clarified 1:5 soil/water extracts is determined by an automated, continuous flow colorimetric procedure based on the formation — in the presence of ferric ions and free thiocyanate ions — of highly coloured ferric thiocyanate in proportion to the Cl‑ concentration. Method 5A2b is similar, except it pertains to the use of flow injection analysis (FIA). For 5A1 and 5A2 methods, it is assumed there are no chemical interferences of significance. Moreover, Method 5A2a has proven more precise than method 5A1, particularly at soil concentrations <50 mg Cl/kg. Other analytical finish options involve chemically-suppressed ion chromatography (5A3a), single-column electronically suppressed ion chromatography (5A3b), and direct measurement by ICPAES (Method 5A4). The methodology specifies reporting results on an air-dry basis.