Sample Collection


Before you start, ask us to send you our soil test kit that contains the submission form, sample bags, reply paid envelopes and sampling instructions.

Call us on (08) 8332 0199, email us at, or fill in our soil test kit form!

We take great care in preparing and analysing your soil and plant samples accurately. However, the results will only truly represent the area or crop tested if you send us good samples. The 300g of soil you send us will represent thousands of tonnes of topsoil so our analysis and recommendations will only be as good as the sample we receive.

How to collect soil samples for the best test results:

Sampling Tools

The right tools are critical to avoid contamination of the sample. APAL can supply a stainless steel sampling probe that is easy to use and samples a desired core of soil with each use. Cost is $104.50 ( including GST ) plus $20 for postage.

However you can also use a clean spade or auger to take the samples. The use of galvanised pipe or dirty tools will result in significant contamination of the sample and unreliable results.

Collect cores or sub-samples in a clean bucket or plastic bag and again be alert to any residues or rocks that could contaminate the sample.


Depth of sampling

Desire 150mm (6 inches) core sample for tree crops, vines, vegetables and deeply cultivated areas.

Desire 100mm (4 inches) core samples for pastures, turf, cereals and non cultivated areas.

Take the samples from the soil surface to the desired depth. Push aside any sticks or coarse mulch but don’t scrape off the soil surface – include the surface organic matter in the sample.

Time of sampling

Soil samples can be taken at any time of the year, but to reliably compare results between samplings, always sample the same area at the same time and under similar soil conditions.

Sample well before expected planting dates so that you have plenty of time to order fertiliser after receiving your report. A spring soil test can be effective for winter cropping because you will have all the information early in the year when you are planning your program.


Sampling area

Select individual paddocks / blocks or representative areas to sample. For effective soil sampling keep different soil types separate. Where there are several soil types in the one paddock and you are not able to treat them separately, take your sample from the main soil type or the soil of greatest interest. On a hilly block, take the sample from the mid-slope area.

If you are assessing a problem area, it can be useful to send in an extra sample from an adjacent productive area for comparison.

Take separate samples from:

  • different soil types
  • hills and flats
  • soils with different fertiliser histories
  • soils with different production histories – cropped and un-cropped.
  • vine/tree row and inter-row

In general avoid anything unusual when sampling but especially DO NOT sample:

  • close to fence lines, roads or gateways
  • close to water tanks, dams or troughs.
  • close to sheds and other buildings.
  • where fertilisers or limes have been dumped.
  • where materials have been burnt.
  • animal camps and urine or dung patches.
  • headlands of cultivated paddocks where double fertilising may have occurred.

Sampling procedure

  1. In each selected area take at least 20 soil cores or sub-samples to build your sample for testing.
  2. Take the sample across the whole area in a grid or on a zig-zag sampling path and record for future re-sampling.
  3. Mix the sub-samples thoroughly and put 300g of the blended soil into a zip-lock APAL bag or similar.
  4. Fill in the information sheet with your postal details and any information about the area tested that will help us with our recommendations.
  5. Put the soil bag(s), information sheet and payment into the APAL reply paid envelope and post to us.

Please contact us if you have any questions about these procedures.