Services

Soil testing

Basic soil testing analyzes nutrient content and fertility status. Results include fertilizer and lime recommendations. Additional tests are available for nutrient management plans, environmental issues, potting mixes, compost, manure and water usage. Each sample should contain about 1½ cups of dry soil from 6 to 7 inches deep. Consult our soil testing publications for specific instructions. Results are typically provided within two weeks.

A soil probe is available to be signed out for one week for obtaining core samples. The testing fee is $16 for one sample, $14 each for two, three, or four samples, and $13 each for five or more samples. Tests for nitrate, boron, zinc, sulfur, iron, manganese and copper will be an additional cost.

Canner gauge tests

Testing for dial-type pressure canner lids is available. Dial-type gauges should be tested annually to ensure accuracy and prevent bacterial contamination of preserved foods. (Testing is not necessary for weighted gauges.)

Call the Mercer County Extension office at 660-748-3315 and schedule an appointment to have your dial gauge tested. Gauges are tested at no charge.

Private pesticide applicator training

MU Extension provides private pesticide applicator training for producers as required for Missouri Department of Agriculture certification. Individuals must purchase or bring a copy of MU Extension publication M87, Private Pesticide Applicator Reference Manual, to the training. Manuals may be purchased at the extension center.

The cost of the Private Pesticide Applicator Reference Manual is $12. Call the Mercer County Extension office at 660-748-3315 to schedule an appointment to view the three-hour training DVD.

Hay testing

Mailing materials and probes, or hay samplers, for forage testing by commercial labs are available as a convenience to our clients. Probes/samplers are recommended to get a proper sample.

A hay probe is available to be signed out for one week for obtaining hay samples.

Plant and insect identification

Plant and insect samples may be brought to the extension office for identification or disease diagnosis. Recommendations for managing pests, weeds and diseases are provided.

We have publications available for a small fee to assist you, and though we do not have specialists on site, we can give you contact information to talk directly with them and get recommendations specific to your situation. For many plant diseases, we can forward a digital photo to the horticulture specialist for diagnosis, although some issues may require an appointment for the specialist to visit your property when you are available. We can also share digital photos of insects with specialists for identification, although in some cases, in may be necessary to send a sample. For a $15 fee, insect samples may be sent to the University for identification by an entymologist. Contact us for assistance with how to properly collect and submit an insect sample.

Publications

MU Extension has publications on agriculture, natural resources, lawn and garden, home and consumer life, nutrition and health, families, community and leadership development, business and careers, emergency management and other topics. Prices vary by publication. 

Educational opportunities

Single- and multi-session educational programs cover topics in agriculture, natural resources, lawn and garden, home and consumer life, nutrition and health, families, community and leadership development, business and careers, and emergency management. Fees vary by program. Customized training is available.