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Newsletter - Our new soil sampling service

Wed 22 May 2024

Newsletter - Our new soil sampling service

After a year of extensive improvements, the British Sugar Soil Sampling Service is ready for the upcoming busy season. The dedicated team is eager to demonstrate the service’s enhanced capabilities and capacity.

Paige Fuller and Zak Merrishaw manage British Sugar’s soil sampling service from the Wissington Sugar Factory 


What has been done?

1. Use My British Sugar to request soil sampling

Beet growers can request soil sampling directly in My British Sugar, and non-beet growers can contact British Sugar Services on 0800 090 2376 to make a request. The system ensures the exact fields are located, and the soil sampling is prepared with the minimum input from growers.

2. New software allowing exact geolocation of samples 

Our sampling team now carries rugged Trimble tablets with the latest GPS software. The software tracks their progress and precisely maps where each sample is taken. Each sample is assigned a unique code, ensuring a direct link to the exact test tube in which it was collected.

The exact geolocation map gives growers confidence in the precise location of any pH issues in their fields, allowing them to target corrections effectively with lime applications.

3. Tracking samples through the lab 

Once it enters the lab, the samples are tracked with a unique bar code. They are scanned in and placed on racks, from which the samples are taken on a first-come, first-served basis for processing. Results can be traced using a QR code, corroborating against the grower’s original request.

The tracking system streamlines processing and eliminates any chance of samples being mixed up and resampling required.

4. Results returned swiftly

The Soil Sampling team aims to return pH results within 21 days of receiving the request with average turn around time of less than two weeks. NRM soil nutrient analysis may take longer, but the team endeavours to return them as soon as possible.

All results are analysed by a FACTS qualified Agriculture Manager for review before they are sent on with any recommendations. As soon as the results are ready, growers are informed that they are available and told to expect their Agriculture Manager to contact them soon.

The team sample every field by foot, allowing sampling to take place earlier in the year within the standing crop.

This is a great benefit to the grower, allowing a quick turnaround time of results and plenty of time to plan any lime or fertiliser applications post-harvest.

The new service has receiced great feedback from customers after all the improvements.

"The Soil Sampling Service was easy to use with a prompt turnaround time and professional maps.

The team always kept me informed of when they would arrive and when my maps were ready.

Zak was a delight to have on the farm and very interested in what he was doing."

– G Clark & Son

Beet growers should contact their Agriculture Manager or visit My British Sugar.

Non-beet growers can request soil sampling by contacting British Sugar Services on 0800 090 2376

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