Spectrum Analytic Soil Test Recommendations

Posted: August 3, 2015

Spectrum Analytic has added Penn State crop code options for Pennsylvania soil samples. When these Penn State crop codes are provided on the soil sample information form Spectrum Analytic will provide Penn State nutrient recommendations on the soil test report.

The Nutrient Management Technical Manual provides the following guidance for soil test recommendations included in Act 38 nutrient management plans:

“Labs other than the Penn State Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory (AASL) may be used for soil analysis.  While soil testing labs that do business in Pennsylvania use the appropriate methods and do high quality analyses, there are often significant differences in recommendations from these labs compared to Penn State recommendations.  Because Penn State recommendations are based on research done under Pennsylvania soil and climate conditions and management systems, the recommendations used for the development of Act 38 plans must be consistent with the AASL recommendations.

The AASL Soil Test Recommendations Handbooks are available at:  Use the “Soil Test Recommendations Handbook for Agronomic Crops” to develop recommendations for crops not listed on the soil test report, changes in yield levels, or to adjust recommendations from labs whose recommendations are not consistent with Pennsylvania conditions.  To determine a Penn State recommendation using soil test results from another lab all that is needed are the soil test levels in ppm, the crop to be grown, and the expected yield level.  With this information it is simple to look up the Penn State recommendation for any crop based on results from any reputable lab that uses the recommended soil test methods for Pennsylvania.”

One lab in particular, Spectrum Analytic (Ohio), made recommendations on soil test reports of Pennsylvania soil samples that frequently required adjustments to be acceptable in Act 38 nutrient management plans.

Recently Spectrum Analytic made available the option to receive recommendations using the “Soil Test Recommendations Handbook for Agronomic Crops” from the Penn State Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory (AASL).  To receive the AASL recommendations, the information form accompanying the soil sample must use specific crop code numbers.  The Crop and Recommendation Code List is available on the Spectrum Analytic website.  The specific link is:  The Penn State codes are found at the bottom of the list.

There is an easier way to remember and use the Spectrum Analytic crop code numbers without accessing the list on the Spectrum Analytic website.  The Spectrum Analytic crop code numbers are simply the AASL crop code numbers with the number 4 added to the front.  For example, the AASL crop code number for “Established Alfalfa” is 1001.  The Spectrum Analytic crop code number for “Established Alfalfa” is 41001.

In addition, the Spectrum Analytic soil test report will indicate that the recommendations are Penn State recommendations by listing the crops with “Penn State” before the crop name.  Below are a few examples:

  • Penn State Corn for Grain
  • Penn State Established Alfalfa
  • Penn State Small Grain Silage

Nutrient management plan writers are encouraged to use the Penn State crop codes when submitting soil samples to Spectrum Analytic.   Doing so will eliminate the need for planners to make the required adjustments when entering the recommendations in the nutrient management plan.  This will also facilitate a more rapid review of the plan.

Contact Information

Jerry Martin
  • Senior Extension Associate
Phone: 717-394-6851