Soil Bio-Logics, LLC offers assessments of soil, compost, 

and compost tea and extracts. 


 $80 per sample (1-3 samples total)

$70 per sample (4-6 samples total)

Complete Soil Food Web Assessment includes quantified population estimates of all the following organism groups: actinobacteria, total bacteria, total fungi, oomycetes (disease-causing fungi), protozoa, and nematodes. 



If you aren't quite sure where to start, we recommend beginning with a Qualitative Assessment.  Let's see if there's any life to start with.  We look at the color and smell and do a microscope assessment to see if there is any microbial activity.  If we find more than bacteria we'll let you know and you can make the decision to perform a complete soil food web assessment.



Here's what I would tell my dad, a rancher of 50 years:

Start with a QUALITATIVE TEST of your pasture or field.   Let's find out what groups of microbes are present.  If we find more than bacteria, then the next step is doing a COMPLETE SOIL FOOD WEB ASSESSMENT to determine the quantities of those group you actually have present.  If you make the decision quickly, we can likely use the sample you've already sent.   From there you can make a plan to re-introduce or encourage the good biology to help your crop or pasture.

Alternately, if you have fields side-by-side and one consistently outproduces the other, test each with a COMPLETE SOIL FOOD WEB ASSESSMENT, so you can start to determine what microbes are working for you and potentially find out why the grass is greener on the other side.


If you want to compare to what your soil has looked like in the past, choose the COMPLETE SOIL FOOD WEB ASSESSMENT.  Biomass is reported in ug/g (microgram per gram) for bacteria and fungi.  Protozoa and Nematodes are reported in #/gram.


Select a COMPLETE SOIL FOOD WEB ASSESSMENT.  Not all compost is created equal (call me if you want to discuss why).  While most compost can probably be used to feed some soil microbes what you really want to be applying is compost full of helpful biology.  You won't know if you don't complete a full assessment.


Reports will be sent via email if you have it, otherwise a paper copy will be mailed to you.  

Depending on the test, the report can give you valuable insights as to what how your soil is performing for the successional level of plants you want to grow.  Learn more about soil and plant succession here:  SUCCESSION OF PLANTS AND SOIL

Qualitative Report:  Did you just end up with bacteria and no other functional groups?  Your soil needs some major work to re-introduce and encourage the other beneficial populations to grow.  Bacterial based soil is the perfect habitat for those pesky things like cheat grass and weeds.  By reintroducing the other beneficial microbes and feeding them you'll start to select for more of the plants and crops you do want.  Functional numbers of each beneficial group mean better nutrient cycling is occurring in the soil, which in turn means healthier plants that require fewer inputs from you. 

Complete Soil Food Web Assessment:  Did you have some of everything present?  Are the right microbes present in the right quantity to maximize the potential for your crop?  Your Complete Soil Food Web Assessment helps you identify what organisms you have and in what quantities.  Specifically it will tell you:

Beneficial Microbes:

Microbes you don't want:

Based on the crop you have or intend to have, the report offers ranges for what your plant species "likes" or needs for optimum performance.  Shifting the balance of different organism groups can help your crops perform at their top level without additional inputs from you.  Let the biology do the work!

Getting the right organisms, in the right balance for your crop, can lead to increased production, increased water infiltration, improved soil structure and decreased weed and disease pressure on your plant.  Get your plants healthy again!

For either report, give us a call and we can discuss what your results mean.



Short answer, no, you probably don't.  Functional classification of soil microbes (what our tests analyze) is sufficient for most operations.  This gives you an idea of what soil microbes you have working for or against you, and what their function in the nutrient cycle is.  

Prior to collecting and sending samples, call, text, or email us to coordinate a date for your microscope assessment.  We currently accept 6 samples per shipment. Samples are time sensitive!

Print and complete the MICROSCOPE ANALYSIS SUBMISSION FORM and include it in the package containing your samples.  Make sure samples are clearly labeled and match sample names on the submission form.


Ensure each bag/bottle with sample material is less than half-full of material - your bugs need to breathe! Seal the bag with the air left inside it.  Please refer to the SAMPLING PROCEDURES for detailed instructions on sampling and mixing.


Package your sample(s) in a small box or padded envelope to protect it from impact.  If sending a liquid sample, tape the lid shut and place in 2 sealed bags before packaging. 

Ship your sample(s) the day of collection to: 

Soil Bio-Logics, LLC

503 Hwy 10 E

Big Timber, MT 59011

During cooler months, a 2-3 day arrival window is sufficient for mailing solid samples. For warmer months, we recommend next day delivery. Generally, the sooner a sample arrives, the more accurate assessment results will be. Samples will not be processed Saturday or Sunday.  Samples may be shipped via UPS, USPS, or FedEx.  Local?  Call and we’ll set up a convenient time for sample drop off.

Text or email the lab to let them know the sample is en-route!


Have questions? No problem.  Contact us at 605-214-8617 or tami@soilbiologicsllc.com

and we can walk you through any questions you may have regarding testing, sample collection, scheduling or packaging.

Please note: If samples should need to be returned, for any reason, shipping will be at the expense of the client. 


How to pull soil core samples:  Sweep aside any organic matter (leaves, plant material, etc.) from the top of the soil.  Use either a metal apple corer or knife to remove a core sample that is approximately 1 inch in diameter by 3 inches deep.  If you’re unable to obtain 3 inches in depth collect all samples at the depth you were able to reach (i.e. 2 inches).  Collect samples as described below based on your situation.

Sampling a uniform bare field or established pasture/hayfield?  Pull 5 cores randomly from different parts of the field (note what locations in the field for your own records).  If the field has plants growing try to take the 5 cores halfway between the plant stem and dripline (edge of the leaf canopy).  Avoid areas that do not accurately represent the field conditions (i.e. along the fence or ditch, big depressions, etc.).  Put all cores in the SAME bag.  Make sure the bag is not more than half full.  Seal the bag with the air left inside it – your biology needs to breathe!  Clearly mark the OUTSIDE of the bag with the sample name that makes sense to you (i.e. NW field bare soil) and date.  NOTE:  Repeat this procedure for each distinct field or pasture (each field/pasture will have its own sample bag).


Sampling a pasture/field that is NOT uniform (mix of healthy crops, weedy patches, sick plants, bare patches, etc.?  Take at least 3 cores from each different section you’ve identified and place in its OWN BAG (weeds or sick plant areas shouldn’t be placed in the same bag as healthy plant areas!).  If you have 3 different sections, you should test 3 separate samples.  Label the sample based on the section it was taken from, i.e. “thistles”, “healthy plants”, “bare patch”.    Make sure each bag is not more than half full.  Seal the bag with the air left inside it – your biology needs to breathe!  Clearly mark the OUTSIDE of the bag with the sample name (i.e. weedy patch NW field) and date.

Sampling a specific plant or tree’s soil? Pull 3 cores from around each plant, tree, etc.  Take the sample about halfway between the plant stem/trunk and dripline (sample at arrows as shown).   If sampling different species of plants or healthy vs. unhealthy plants, put the cores for each type in their own bag.  Uniform tree species and health: place samples in the same bag (3 cores for each tree – see mixing below).  Make sure the bag is not more than half full.  Seal the bag with the air left inside it – your biology needs to breathe!  Clearly mark the OUTSIDE of the bag with the sample name and date. 

Sampling a compost pile or vermicast?  Small Pile:  Grab a small handful from a minimum of 5 different areas, making sure to pull from different depths and locations around the pile.  Large Windrow:  Take ~20 tsp sized samples from 20 different areas, making sure to pull from different depths and locations around the pile. Place all samples together in a single, labeled, resealable plastic bag.  Seal the bag with the air left inside it – your biology needs to breathe!  Clearly mark the OUTSIDE of the bag with the sample name and date.  Submit a minimum of ¼ cup to maintain sample conditions for testing (see mixing instructions below).

Sampling a compost extract?  Use a disposable water bottle.  Fill the container ⅓ full of the liquid you want to have assessed. Leave the remainder of the container empty to maximize headspace for air exchange.  Secure the cap with duct tape and place it in a sealed plastic bag. Clearly mark the outside of the container with the sample name.  MUST BE SENT OVERNIGHT MAIL

Sampling a compost tea?  Compost Tea is extremely time sensitive.  If you’re in the local area we can test your compost tea – contact me to set this one up!

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS:  Collected more than ¼ cup?  No problem, simply place all of the same sample in a clean container and mix well.  Take at least a ¼ cup of the well mixed material and place in a resealable plastic bag, no more than half full.  Label clearly on the outside of the bag.



How many samples are needed?

See Sampling Instructions for more information, but generally:


For compost tea or compost extract, one sample is needed per liquid.  These are extremely time sensitive samples, so contact us before submitting any liquid samples!

Solid materials


For soils, a representative sample for each area to be assessed needs to be submitted in it's own small plastic bag.  This is a representative sample that consists of multiple core samples from the same type of area.  See SAMPLING PROCEDURES for more detailed instructions.


One representative sample is needed per pile or windrow.  

PRINTABLE - Click on the link above to open the printable version.

PRINTABLE - Click on the link above to open the printable version.

PRINTABLE - Click on the link above to open the printable version.

PRINTABLE - Click on the link "Shipping above to open the printable version.