Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soil Survey? Top
Soil Survey is the “systematic examination, description, classification and mapping of soils of an area".  
What properties are studied during Soil Survey? Top
Soils are examined/ described for properties like texture, porosity, structure, kind arrangement and thickness of horizons, concretion, depth, soil reaction etc., up to 2 meters depth (where possible). These properties/ characteristics are permanent in nature and developed over centuries. Soils are classified according to international standards (FAO/USDA).  
What are different levels of soil surveys? Top
Different levels of soil surveys are:
  • Exploratory soil surveys
  • Reconnaissance soil surveys
  • Semi-detailed soil surveys
  • Detailed soil surveys
  • Ultra-detailed soil surveys
What are the uses of soil survey data? Top
Soil survey data can be used both for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes. However, in Pakistan soil survey data is mainly use for agriculture related planning.  
How the soils are classified? Top
Soils are classified according to international standards. These standards are defined by organizations like United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO). Soil Survey of Pakistan / Punjab follows these standards for classifying soils identified in Pakistan.  
How many soils have been recognized/ identified in Pakistan? Top
So far 913 soil series have been identified in Pakistan. These soils are grouped in 6 orders, 21 sub-orders, 39 great groups, 116 sub-groups and 375 families.  
How many orders are defined in Keys to Soil Taxonomy? Top
Total 12 soil orders have been identified/ defined in Keys to Soil Taxonomy (USDA).  
Who can obtain the Soil Survey Reports and Maps? Top
The reconnaissance soil survey reports / data is primarily meant for planning agricultural development at various levels-national, provincial, district, tehsil and development projects. The users includes agricultural planners, project manager, extension workers, researchers, irrigation expert, foresters etc.
Who can benefit from Soil Survey Reports and Maps? Top
As explained in detail above, the reports and maps are prepared after reconnaissance soil surveys and are used for planning purposes in various fields.  
Why have your soil tested? Top
Soil testing takes the guesswork out of maintaining the soil in optimum condition for plant growth and development. Different crops have different soil pH and nutrient requirements. Testing is inexpensive when compared to investments in plants, amendments, time and efforts. A soil test will assess the present levels of major plant nutrients, soil pH and micronutrients.  
Who are users of soil analysis? Top
  • Farmers 
  • Orchardists 
  • Small Fruit Growers 
  • Vegetable Growers 
  • Greenhouse Growers 
  • Students of different Universities/ Colleges
What tests are available? Top
pH, ECe, Soluble Salts, % Organic Matter, % Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), Total dissolved salts (TDS), Salinity, Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR), Residual Sodium Carbonate (RSC), Micro Nutrients, Macro Nutrients (N,P,K), Cation Exchange Capacity, Sand Fraction, Clay Fraction, Hydraulic Conductivity, Moisture at different pressures, Infiltration Rate(In Situ), Moisture %, Porosity, Bulk Density.  
When/ how often should I test my soil? Top
Samples can be collected at any time of year. Many people collect their samples for testing in the spring right before planting, but fall is an optimal time especially if a soil pH problem is suspected. This allows sufficient time for reactions to occur in the soil so the pH and fertility should be at or close to the target levels by spring. A soil test should be performed about every three years to monitor soil pH and fertility levels. However, if a large correction in soil pH or fertility is called for by the initial soil test, it is a good idea to retest one year after amendments or fertilizer additions to evaluate if the situation has been corrected.  
How can I collect/ send a sample?  
Sample collection is one of the most important things. A person can collect samples by him/ herself. Services are also provided by our field expert teams to survey and collect the samples, as per demand of the client. Samples should be taken from different location/ sites of the surveyed area and from different depths. The quantity of the samples should be 500-700 grams, depending upon the estimation required. After obtaining the samples, place it in a plastic bag and label it with sample ID (area name, serial number, depth). Do not place paper labels inside the bag, as the moisture of soil can make writing invisible. A request letter in the name of Director General Soil Survey of Punjab needs to be written and after the approval samples are being handed over by the owner/ client himself in laboratory section.  
How soon will I receive my results? Top
A standard time period is 7-10 working days, from the time of sample receipt. Time period depends upon the moisture content in the samples, number of samples and estimations to be required by the client. More the number of estimations mean longer the time period required for analysis. Results can be received from laboratory section or can be sent via mail/ email (as per demand), after the said time period is over.  
How much do I have to pay for analysis? Top
Students can have the facility of analysis, free of cost (after approval), providing a letter from their respective head of the department or institution. But for the private sector, standard charges are applicable as per estimation. Details will be provided on demand. the rates of analysis are yet to be approved by Government of the Punjab.