1. Choose a day when the soil is not waterlogged and it has not been recently cultivated.
2. Locate your chosen sample site – you can use the GPS mapping feature on the app to do this if you’ve recorded the sample locations previously.
3. Insert your spade to about 20 cm depth into the soil. Dig up the soil and gently break it apart to release pieces of soil.
4. Collect a fist-sized sample of soil put in small labelled bag to take back.
5. Back at the office: select three 1-3mm sized lumps of soil from the bag and leave them to dry overnight. They may need another 2-3 days more drying if very wet – must be completely dry before testing.
6. Once dry, arrange pieces of soil on the sieve and fully immerse into water until the lip of the sieve is reached. A light coloured water bowl (as a background) will make it easier to see how the soil is behaving.
7. Start timer for 5 minutes, & observe the pieces under water. Score the behaviour of the pieces in Soilmentor using the score above.
8. You may like to take another sample in an long-term uncultivated part of the farm, e.g. woodland, for a good comparison to assess the effect of field management on aggregate stability.
Read this article to find out how many times to do the slake test for each field, and watch the video below.
Don’t forget to take photos!
Watch the video below to see the slake test method in action!