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Expedited Shippers Still Available For Soil Testing Through NCDA

Rhonda Garrison

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture began charging for soil testing just before Thanksgiving to help even out the wait time for results from soil testing.  As anticipated, a large number of samples came into the lab on the final days of no-charge testing, and right now the wait time is about seven weeks.

To jump to the head of the line so to speak, the agronomics lab is offering a limited number of expedited shippers.  Dr. David Hardy, Section Chief for Soil Testing in the agronomic division for the North Carolina Department of Ag explains further:

“Many growers may want their samples back in a shorter amount of time so we offered the expedited samples again this year and that guarantees a two week turnaround time. The boxes hold 36 samples and we charge $200.”

That $200 takes care of the $4 fee per sample explains Hardy:

“That takes care of the analysis and gets them back in two weeks. But certain dates that fall around the holidays, we ask for three weeks.”

As mentioned earlier, there are a limited number of those expedited shippers.  Hardy explains further:

“We can only sell a certain amount because we have to guarantee the turnaround time. So we need to think about them coming in and our ability to work on them.”

Hardy explains that over the last 10 to 12 years, the soil testing lab has increased capacity exponentially:

“We have tried to increase our sample capacity through efficiency and automation. We have some driers now as well to help out with wet samples. WE are now able to dry them over night. We have also hired some new chemists. Our capacity has grown from 60 to 100 sets per day, topping out at 120 per day on longer days.”

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