Farmers Schooled On Need To Test Soil Before Farming

Farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region have been urged to test the soil of their farmlands before the beginning of a new farming season, to ensure the lands are capable of supplying adequate quantities of essential plant nutrients to grow crops.

The Head of Soil Laboratory at the Soil Research Institute in Kumasi, Dr. Francis M. Tetteh, told in an interview that the main aim of soil testing was to evaluate the fertility status of the soil, which was essential in the growing of crops.

"The laboratory test is a means of making an inventory of the Chemical condition of the soil and determining the treatments required. Soil testing provides basis for the recommendation of fertilizer and soil amendments such as lime," he added.

His expert advice comes at a time where farmers, mostly those who cultivate maize have lamented over poor yield in some parts of the region despite the application of fertilizers in large quantities.

Dr. Tetteh attributed the decline in crop yield across the country to the inability of farmers to embrace modern ways of farming which encourages the testing of soil before planting season.

He said if farmers adopt the act of testing their soil in the laboratory, they would know which nutrients their farmlands lack and know the right fertilizers to apply on their farms.

Dr. Tetteh said Ghana's soils are old and have been leached for a long period of time hence "they are low in inherent soil fertility, organic matter and buffer capacity."

According to the soil Scientist, although crops require soils that are deep with no impediments to root development well drained and aerated, with the capacity to store sufficient soil moisture to support good crop growth and neutral to slightly acid, farmers needed to know that testing their soils Was The way to boost yield.

Advising the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to provide laboratory equipment to test soils at the district levels, he also urged farmers not to hesitate to fall on extension officers with samples of soils picked randomly from their farms to be tested at available soil laboratories in the regional capitals for a fee to avoid low crop yield.