Experts reiterate profits of soil tests

Some agriculture experts have reiterated the importance of soil tests before crop cultivation to boost agro-yields.

The experts made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

The co-founder of Corporate Farmers International and an agriculture consultant, Mr Akin Alabi, said a detailed soil test and analysis is needed before the cultivation of any farmland.

“One ideal practice when cultivating crops on any farmland, a detailed soil analysis must be carried out.

“This will enable the farmers understand the soil composition and will determine possible yield and other inputs needed for the cultivation period.

“The soil test will help farmers know the lands that need fertilisers and the ones that do not need it.

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“Taking a comprehensive soil test is one of the very first step we advise farmers to carry out before crop cultivation.

“A proper soil test does not cost so much, before planting season commences this year all farmers should carry out a soil test,” Alabi said.

He also urged extension services agents to encourage local farmers to embark on soil testing exercises.

“We want the extension services to make it a priority in educating local farmers on the importance of soil tests.

“From the federal, state and local government levels farmers should be encouraged to embark on soil testing,” he said.

On his part, Dr Fadlullah Issa, fellow at the National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), restated the importance of soil tests to crop cultivation.

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“The essence of farming is to get high yield and productivity. And this high productivity is determined by the composition of the soil.

“We cannot overemphasise the need to understand what the soil contains in terms of nutrients.

“A lot of farmers do not have any business with soil tests. The importance of soil test is that it will determine what kind of crops should be cultivated on what farmlands.

“Each soil has both macro and micro nutrients and determines the output of the crops cultivated on it.

“Every crop has its nutritional demands, so farmers must know the composition of the soil before cultivation,” Issa said.

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He also stressed the need for extension services to encourage farmers to embrace soil tests before crop cultivation.

“It is the duty of the extension personnel to encourage local farmers to embark on soil tests.

“It is, however, not the duty of the extension services to conduct soil tests, the tests are done in laboratories by the certified professionals.

“However, the extension services are to emphasise to the farmers the importance of soil testing before crop cultivation.

“With the results of the soil tests, the extension services can now advice the farmers on what crop to cultivate.

“Soil tests should not be done in a hurry, it should be done much earlier before cultivation,” he said.

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