The laboratory, sponsored by MU Extension, provides soil testing, fertilizer recommendations and plant analysis services to farmers, homeowners, vegetable and fruit growers, golf course superintendents and lawn and landscape specialists.

The laboratory has played an important role in the introduction and acceptance of soil testing as a guide to nutrient applications. Recommendations originating from the laboratory are actually a culmination of basic and applied soil fertility research conducted by university faculty and staff.

The laboratory maintains ongoing validation processes for existing methodology and nutrient recommendations. It provides leadership to the private sector through research, teaching and extension services with the goal of providing growers the best nutrient management information.


  • Help farmers make effective use of fertilizer to increase their financial returns
  • Benefit society with improved environment and water quality through efficient use of fertilizer on farms, lawns and gardens
  • Maintain a soil analysis database for research that will improve soil testing and fertilizer application
  • Ensure public and private labs are providing reliable and quality soil test results to the citizens of Missouri


The tests we offer include:

Regular soil fertility tests:
  • pHs
  • Organic matter
  • Neutralizable acidity
  • Ammonium acetate
  • Extractable K, Ca, Mg
  • Bray 1-P
Special tests:
  • Extractable Sulfate-S
  • Micro-nutrients: Zn, Fe, Mn and Cu
  • Nitrate-N and Ammonium-N
  • Boron
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Textural analysis
In addition to soil testing, our lab offers analysis of:
  • Plant tissue
  • Greenhouse/nursery soilless growing media
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Water

For more information about soil testing see the Soil test procedures and results page. To learn more about the tests offered for all sample types see Tests and fees.


A soil test measures the relative soil fertility levels. It is a basic tool in planning an economically and environmentally sound fertility program. Plant analysis, on the other hand, diagnoses or confirms diagnosis of a visible symptom. Combined with the soil test information, plant analysis allows fertilizer management to be fitted more closely to a crop's needs.

Plant analyses enable a more accurate measure of the nutritional health of fruit crops than through soil testing alone. It can also be used to help fine-tune the efficiency of a fertilizer program before nutrient symptoms appear and is especially useful for perennial crops. Presence of nutrient deficiency symptoms indicates an acute shortage in the plant and is usually accompanied by reduced yields or fruit quality. Growers can avoid these losses by using plant analysis to identify nutrients approaching deficiency levels before yields decline or symptoms appear.

These services are particularly valuable to horticulturists (fruit growers, ornamental growers and vegetable growers) and nursery producers wishing to fine-tune their plant nutrition programs. This service further benefits growers as campus-based and regional horticulture specialists work directly with the soil testing lab to develop recommendations.

Note:  MU Extension does not endorse commercial products.

Per year, the laboratory analyzes about...
  • 25,000 to 35,000 field crop (farm) soil samples
  • 5,000 to 7,000 horticultural crop (lawn and garden) soil samples
  • 1,000 commercial fruits, vegetables and turf soil samples