Historically, the objectives of soil sampling have been to determine the average nutrient status of a field and to provide some measure of nutrient variability in a field.

Soil sampling for precision agriculture has these same objectives with some modifications. Instead of a field, producers are interested in areas within fields. They also are interested in relating trends in soil fertilizer levels to other field properties that are predictable or easily measured. Knowledge of factors influencing soil nutrient levels including soil type, topography, cropping history, manure application, fertilizer application and leveling for irrigation will help the producer determine the most effective sampling approach. The basic principles of soil sampling still apply to precision sampling. An adequate number of samples should be collected to accurately characterize nutrient levels. The samples should be collected to the proper depth for non-mobile and mobile nutrients. Samples should be handled and stored to minimize contamination and degradation. 

Collecting a representative soil sample is an important step in developing a nutrient plan for your farm. The goals of your soil sampling plan should be to