Soil & Soil Health Analysis - Ward Laboratories, Inc. (2022)

If your soil could talk, what would it say?

I’m healthy and thriving!

I’m starving! SOS!

Ward Laboratories can help you increase your soil’s productivity, microbial health and nutrient balance.

Ready to submit your sample?

Looking to boost your dollars per acre at harvest time?
It all starts in the soil.

Your plants are only as healthy as the soil they’re feeding from.

Reduced microbial activity and limited nutrient availability can result in lackluster harvests. We’ll give you a complete report of our findings and recommend corrective measures.

(Video) Soil Health: A New Approach Part 1

Maintaining optimum soil health saves you money on expensive inputs.

How much money are we talking? Studies performed by Kastens and Dhuyvetter concluded that a farmer could save $4-5 USD per acre on fertilizerby relying on accurate soil testing reports. And when grain prices are low and profit margins are razor thin, soil testing becomes even more critical.

Curious about your soil’s health?

Here are three of our best-selling, comprehensive soil tests.

Soil & Soil Health Analysis - Ward Laboratories, Inc. (1)

Routine Soil Analysis

$20.00 USD

The test that covers (almost) everything! We recommend this to everyone from commercial crop producers to home gardeners … anyone who needs to know what’s in their soil! This test measures pH, buffer pH, sum of cations (CEC), base saturation (%), soluble salts, organic matter, nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, zinc, iron, manganese and copper.

View Sampling Procedure

(Video) Soil Health

Soil & Soil Health Analysis - Ward Laboratories, Inc. (2)


$85.00 USD

Click here to view more information about the PLFA test.

Another popular option, this test looks for phospholipid fatty acids, or PLFA. Analyzing PLFA gives you critical information about your soil’s microbial populations. Environmental conditions such as temperature and moisture can alter this microbial community. Knowing how these changes occur over time gives our producers the ability to compare various management techniques and how they affect the health of these microbes.

View Sampling Procedure

Soil & Soil Health Analysis - Ward Laboratories, Inc. (3)

Soil Health Assessment

$52.00 USD

Ward Laboratories, Inc. is now offering a new Soil Health Assessment (SHA) package.This test combines the latest in soil science, ensuring that both soil fertility and soil health are viewed through a single test, helping farmers and researchers measure and manage soil health without compromising productivity. Microbial activity and food are evaluated to provide data that enhances operations while also evaluating nutrients in a manner that is widely accepted by Land Grant University correlations and calibrations.

This new package also includes modified aggregate stability. With this addition, the new Soil Health Assessment offers two biological, one chemical and one physical indicator of soil health.

Order a Soil Health Assessment Kit

Nematode Testing

Starting at $78.00 USD

This test looks for common harmful and pathogenic nematodes in soil, such as lesion and spiral nematodes, along with fungal feeding, and free-living nematodes. You can also request testing for Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN) in addition to your soil nematode test.

Samples submitted from outside Nebraska MUST include this APHIS permit.

(Video) Soil Health: A New Approach Part 2

Download the Submittal Sheet

Soil & Soil Health Analysis - Ward Laboratories, Inc. (4)

Soil DNA

$190.00 USD

Ward Laboratories, Inc. is now offering a new biological testing package. Through a strategic partnership with Trace Genomics, our customers now have access to nutrient cycling indicators, soil health indicators and pathogen analysis. This test utilizes whole genome sequencing, helping farmers and agronomists accurately identify biological threats and opportunities without compromising productivity. Trace’s use of industry-leading DNA sequencing, combined with their cutting-edge data analysis engine, is unmatched in agriculture and enables the most complete and detailed assessment of the soil’s capacity to cycle essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Measures of microbial biodiversity and oxygen availability, included in this new test package, also serve as important components in assessing the overall health of the soil.

Pathogen Analysis – detection and quantification of 170+ pathogens covering 70+ crop types.

  • Crop Types
  • Sample Pathogen Report

Nutrient Cycling Indicators

Phosphorus – Phosphorus Mineralization Potential & Phosphorus Solubilization Potential

Nitrogen – Denitrification Potential, Nitrate Ammonification Potential & Nitrification Potential

Soil Conditions – oxygen availability & bacterial diversity

  • Nutrient Cycling Indicators Sample Report

View Sampling Procedure

Download Soil DNA Submittal Sheet

See our additional test options

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does testing cost?

Prices effective October 1, 2021. All prices are subject to change without notice.
All prices are in USD.

Download the Soil Analysis Prices

Soil Analysis Packages
pH, Buffer pH, Sum of Cations (CEC), Base Saturation (%), Soluble Salts, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium
S-101BASIC + OM + S$16.50
pH, Buffer pH, Sum of Cations (CEC), Base Saturation (%), Soluble Salts, Organic Matter, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfur
pH, Buffer pH, Sum of Cations (CEC), Base Saturation (%), Soluble Salts, Organic Matter, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfur, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Copper
pH, Buffer pH, Sum of Cations (CEC), Base Saturation (%), Soluble Salts, Organic Matter, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfur, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Boron
pH, Buffer pH, Sum of Cations (CEC), Soluble Salts, Base Saturation (%), Organic Matter, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfur, Boron
SAR, Electrical Conductivity, pH, Bicarbonate, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfur, Chloride
Individual Soil Analysis
AMMONIUM (2N KCl)$6.00
BORON (Hot Water)$6.50
Call for details.
Cations (K, Ca, Mg, Na by NH4 Acetate Extraction)$5.75
CEC (pH, K, Ca, Mg, & Na by Summation)$12.00
CHLORIDE (0.01 M CaNO3 Extract)$6.00
Micros (Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu) by DTPA extraction)$5.75
NITRITE (KCl)$6.00
pH (pH, BpH, EC)$6.00
PRE-SIDEDRESS NITRATE FOR CORN (12″ deep soil sample when corn is 12″ tall)$6.00
ROCKS AND ROOTS (greater than 2 mm diameter)$25.00
SALT pH (0.01M CaCl2; pH, buffer pH)$6.00
Total (Combustion Method)
Nitrogen and Carbon$10.00
Organic Carbon$10.00
Contact the lab for individual element price
Heavy Metals
Digest* Fee$20.00/ sample
Heavy Metals$20.00/ metal/ sample
Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Lead, Nickel, Selenium, Strontium, Vanadium

*All samples analyzed for heavy metals will be charged a $20.00 digestion fee per sample regardless of the number of metals analyzed.

Soil Health Analysis

Download the Soil Health Analysis Prices

Total bacteria (Gram (+), Gram (-)), Total Fungi (Arbuscular Mycorrhizae, Saprophytes) Protozoa, Undifferentiated Microorganisms
Soil Health Assessment
BIOLOGICAL: Soil Respiration 24 hour CO2, H20 Extract: ammonium-N, nitrate-N, Total N, Total Organic Carbon, Total Organic N; CHEMICAL: Ammonium acetate extract: K, Ca, Mg, Na; DTPA Extract: Zn, Fe, Mn Cu; Mehlich 3 Extract: P (Olsen P or Bray P-1 also available), S; soil pH, Soluble Salts, OM, Sum of Cations (CEC) and Base Saturation; PHYSICAL: Water Stable Aggregates (modified)
Measure of soil respiration CO2-C, ppm C as an indicator of microbial biomass and potential activity
β-glucosidase (BG) – Carbon Cycle, N-Acetyl-β-glucosaminidase (NAG) – Nitrogen Cycle, Phosphodiesterase (PHD) – Phosphorus Cycle, Alkaline Phosphatase (AlkP) – Phosphorus Cycle, Acid Phosphatase (AcP) – Phosphorus Cycle, Arylsulfatase (ARS) – Sulfur Cycle
POX-C, (ppm) SOIL
Permanganate active labile carbon
% Aggregate Stability, 0.25-2.0 mm fraction
Measured at Field Capacity (0.1 bar) and Wilting Point (15 bar)
Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Boron, Molybdenum, Pounds per acre calculated for depth of sample
Measures proteins in soil that are sourced from plants, microbes, and other decomposing organisms
Individual Soil Health Analysis
Ammonium-Nitrogen, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Total Nitrogen, Total Organic Carbon, Total Organic Nitrogen
(Video) Soil Health: A New Approach Part 3

How Do I Take a Sample?

Click here for everything you need to know about sample types and sampling procedure!

Does Ward accept samples from any location?

Yes, we accept samples from producers all over the world! Any samples that are submitted from outside the U.S. will need an APHIS label. You can request the APHIS label by

Can you test the soil in my lawn or garden?

Yes! We suggest one of two tests. For homeowners using conventional management practices (for example, synthetic fertilizers), we recommend our Routine Soil Analysis. For producers using natural approaches (for example, manure) a Haney Soil Health test may be beneficial.

What are crop recommendations?

Crop recommendations help producers understand how much fertilizer they’ll need to apply based on soil nutrient availability, the crop to be grown, and the anticipated yield.

How do i request recommendations on my soil test?

Please include the crop and yield goal for up to 3 crops. If you’re unsure of the yield goal, please provide information like geography, irrigation/rainfall, past crops, cropping systems, etc, that may be helpful in determining your goal.

Do I have to pay for recommendations?

No, recommendations are always free!

Can you input soil test results with my ag software?

Yes! We are integrated with many platforms already and are willing to connect with yours.

Ready to submit a sample?

Take a soil sample

(Video) Soil Sampling for a Luscious Lawn


How much sample is required for soil testing? ›

For most analyses it is recommended to send in around 2 cups of soil. This will fit well into a quart sized plastic bag.

How do you get a sample of soil analysis? ›

You can use a soil probe to obtain soil from multiple locations around the landscape bed or garden. Take samples to a depth of 6-8 inches. You should collect separate samples for soil tests from different sections within your yard, landscape, or garden. Each section should be distinct from the others.

What are 2 tests used to analyze soil? ›

Knowing the soil's pH and classification is the first step in pre- dicting Al problems, and tests for “extractable” Al can then be done if necessary.

What does a soil analysis show? ›

Basic soil tests pinpoint the amount of organic matter, the pH and the level of macronutrients (nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K)). These standard tests only provide information on soil characteristics. That means they do not test for pollutants, pesticides or other potentially toxic compounds.


1. Understanding Your Soil Test with Dr. Ashley Hammac
(Ward Laboratories, Inc.)
2. Ward Laboratories, Inc.
(Ward Laboratories, Inc.)
3. PLFA Analysis Explained
(Ward Laboratories, Inc.)
4. Plant Analysis: A Tool in Times of High Input Cost
(Ward Laboratories, Inc.)
5. "Soils: Sampling, Tests, and Interpreting Results" with Ray Ward, Ward Laboratories
(USDA NRCS South Dakota)
6. The Journey of a Soil Sample Through Ward Laboratories
(Ward Laboratories, Inc.)

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