The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station (MAFES) Analytical Laboratory and Maine Soil Testing Service analyzes soil, plant tissue, compost, manure, irrigation water, wood ash, fertilizers, organic residuals and other materials for nutrient content, organic matter, lead and other trace elements. We provide analytical services at reasonable prices to the public and to researchers.
MAFES Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service are Open for Business
Covid-19 Effects on Operations
The University of Maine has suspended classroom instruction and closed residential halls. Thus far, this has had little effect on our operations, since the bulk of our staff is comprised of regular full time employees. This is obviously a fluid situation, but at this point we will continue to receive, process, and report samples normally. We encourage you to mail your samples rather than drop off in person, if possible.
In the event of a temporary full shutdown of campus, any samples in house will be dried and stabilized and run normally on our return. Dry samples can be stored almost indefinitely without altering test results. Feel free to continue sending in your samples as the spring progresses. We will post any significant updates on our situation if and when they occur.
Winter is on its way out. After the soil has thawed, there is a prime window of opportunity to test your soil, while waiting for it to be warm enough to plant. The best test for spring is the Standard Soil Test. It’s an economical way to check pH, organic matter, and all the the essential nutrients. You will receive recommendations for soil amendments to adjust all nutrient levels to the optimum range for growth and productivity. Nitrogen recommendations are adjusted based on organic matter level. A Comprehensive Soil Test, which includes nitrogen, is best run after Memorial Day when the soil has warmed and normal biological activity has resumed.
We have already tested nearly 200 high tunnel and hoop house samples this year. These season extenders can be planted 4 – 6 weeks earlier than outside plantings. The Basic High Tunnel test includes a check on nutrient salt buildup and a direct check on nitrate carryover, along with all other major and micronutrients. Enhanced recommendations are provided to support the much higher levels of productivity and increased nutrient demands in this growing environment.
A healthy soil is a productive soil. A quick check on soil health is provided by our Soil Biology add-on test, which measures microbial respiration over 24 hours after rewetting dry soil. Guidelines for managing soil organic matter quality are included with this test.
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The laboratory is located in Deering Hall on the University of Maine campus. (driving directions). Samples may be mailed to us or dropped off at room 25. We are available Monday through Friday between 8 and 5.
Your data is confidential as described in the Laboratory’s Privacy and Delineation of Responsibility Policy. We use standardized methodology and, as part of our data Quality Assurance program, we participate in the North American Proficiency Testing (NAPT) program.