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Chemical soil testing for agriculture in the German Democratic Republic

, : Chemical soil testing for agriculture in the German Democratic Republic. Zemledelie (1): 99-105

On all farms of East Germany, systematic tests of the soil are made for acidity and content of nutrients. The test data are turned out in five zonal institutes serving 1 to 1.5 million ha of agricultural land. One worker at an institute takes care of 12,000 to 15,000 soil samples per season. Each sample consists of 15 to 20 individual specimens taken by a drill from different places on the plot being tested at all depths of the tillable layer. All the specimens are mixed in a single basket. The performance of the large-scale agricultural chemical analyses is mechanized. Pulverization and screening is carried out on special milling machines with an average productivity of 900 to 1000 samples per shift. In the analyses the continuous conveyor system is used. A certain group of workers carries out only one portion of the work, further operations are assigned to another group, etc. until the analyses of the group of 1000 samples has been completed. They use automatic measurement of solutions, determination of weights on special scales, and electrometric methods. Control analyses are also per formed. For all land utilization, an agricultural chemical map is made up on which, by the use of special symbols differing in color and shape, are designated the group to which the soil belongs on the basis of phos phorus and potassium content, and also to which acidity group it be longs. Instructions for using the results of the agricultural chemical tests are handed over to the farm together with the map. For each group of soils (as determined by the content of nutrients) an approximate quantity of potassium, lime and phosphorus fertilizers is recommended for application with various crops.


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