Soil Testing

  • J. T. Cope
  • C. E. Evans
Part of the Advances in Soil Science book series (SOIL, volume 1)


Most agricultural soils in the virgin state contained some accumulation of nitrogen (N) from tree or grass residues. They were generally low in phosphorus (P) because the parent materials from which they were formed were low in this nutrient. Therefore, P is most frequently the first limiting nutrient when soils are first put into production. Use of chemical fertilizers began with use of P from organic and mineral sources in Europe and the USA. Phosphorus was used to increase production of food and fiber crops and also of legumes used in rotations to supply N. As yields increased from use of P fertilizers, legumes, and later N fertilizers, soils were depleted of other nutrients and a need for potassium (K) and some of the macro- and micronutrients was discovered. Economical production of most crops in developed countries is now dependent on use of fertilizers. Choice of the most profitable rates of the nutrients that may limit yields cannot be made by farmers without a research base that has been developed by agricultural experiment stations.


Cation Exchange Capacity Rock Phosphate Relative Yield Soil Test Fertility Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1958

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. T. Cope
    • 1
  • C. E. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Forestry, and Biological SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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