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.
Winter 2022 – 2023
We would like to thank all our customers for your loyalty and patience with us this past year. Limited facilities and labor have caused some delays at times. We have been able to keep current with our most time-sensitive testing, though it will take much of the winter to completely clear some of our backlogged samples.
Growing seasons are becoming more erratic each year. Increasing frequency of extended drought or excessive rainfall events greatly complicate fertility management and plant productivity. An open winter, with little or no snow, is very stressful and sometimes fatal for perennial plants. Building and maintaining good soil health and fertility are key to creating resilient and productive soils and healthy plants, better able to tolerate extremes in growing conditions. A quick check on soil health is provided by our Soil Biology add-on test. Guidelines for managing soil organic matter quality are included.
If you are sampling for a High Tunnel Test over the winter or early spring, be sure to sample the entire soil profile from the surface down to 6 or 8 inches to get an overall average for the entire depth. Nutrient salts tend to accumulate in the surface 2 inches of tunnel soils, even during the winter.
When spring sampling after frost is out of the ground, the Standard Soil Test is your best testing option. In spring, soil nitrate levels are at a low ebb, until the soil warms and normal biological activity and nutrient cycling resumes. The Comprehensive Soil Test, which includes a direct measurement of soil nitrogen, is most useful and appropriate after Memorial Day.
Our lab also provides testing services for Soil Metals Screening, irrigation water quality, compost, manure, and plant foliar nutrient content.
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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.