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
We have maintained normal operations as an Essential Service throughout the past 3 months, in order to serve the farming and gardening communities and local food production. We are continuing to receive, process, and report samples normally for customers in Maine and throughout the Northeast. If you live outside Maine and your local testing facility is closed, we will be happy to provide your testing services for soil, compost, manure, and plant samples. We encourage you to ship your samples directly to us, though we do have a drop off container outside Deering Hall for local samples.
Local food production and home gardening have taken on a new urgency with the pandemic lockdown and the resulting economic fallout. We have been working with many first-time gardeners this spring, as well as long-established customers. It’s not too late to test your soil to maximize productivity. In fact, this is the best time of year to request a Comprehensive Soil Test, which includes a direct check on plant available nitrogen. It’s also an economical way to check pH, organic matter, and all the essential nutrients. You will receive recommendations for soil amendments to adjust all nutrient levels to the optimum range for growth and productivity.
Many farmers and gardeners enhance productivity and extend the growing season with hoop houses or high tunnels. Hoop houses and Tunnels can extend the growing season 4 to 8 weeks, compared to 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.