16 February 1996

Deep-N proves popular choice

"DEEP-N" soil sampling is proving a popular service in Eastern England, says fertiliser manufacturer Hydro Agri.

By using a hydraulically operated sampling spear mounted on a six-wheel low ground pressure vehicle the service aims to give an accurate picture of the nitrogen and sulphur status of soils down to 90cm (35in).

"Deep-N puts accurate measurements to what were previously estimates," says Martin Ashburn, technical services manager of Levington Agriculture, which operates the service. "Farmers know soil contains nitrogen and sulphur. This service reveals how much, so subsequent fertiliser applications can be tailored accurately."

The service is claimed to be unique in taking cores down to 90cm, enabling N and S levels to be checked throughout the crops full rooting depth.

Each field is sampled 20 times, with a minimum of four fields tested on each farm. Cost is £48 a field, or £84 a field for a more detailed picture based on splitting the core into three layers. &#42