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 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).


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.

Total soil nitrogen semi micro Kjeldahl, steam distillation. (7A1)

Method 7A1 provides a good estimate of total soil N in soils with little NO3: otherwise slightly lower apparent total soil N concentrations are likely. The method initially involves semi-micro Kjeldahl digestion. Subsequently, NaOH solution is added to release NH3 by steam distillation. The NH3 released is quantitatively absorbed in dilute boric acid, with total soil N determined by titration with standard acid. The method uses finely-milled air-dry sample and specifies reporting results as %N on an oven-dry (105oC) basis.




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


Chloride - 1:5 soil/water extract (5A2)

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.