The soils in the Isle of Man vary from loamy sands to peaty loams with many of the different textural classes in-between found in the Island. It has been recognised that on the Island there are thirty two different soil sub-categories associated with five soil categories. The five are, soils associated with slates, flagstones and shales, soils associated with limestone, soils associated with Peel sandstone and Neb gravels, soils associated with glacial deposits and soils associated with peat deposits.
All five land use capability classes are found on the Island but only 1% is in Class 1 (land with very minor or no physical limitations). Over 80% of land is in Class 3 (land with moderate limitations that restrict the choice of crops and/or demand very careful management).
For further reading : "Agriculture Soils of the Isle of Man" Research Report 9 2001 is available from the Centre of Manx Studies, 6 Kingswood Grove, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 3LX.
The Department provides a soil sampling service for farmers with the Isle of Man Government Laboratory analysing the samples. Tests can be done for pH, lime requirement, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper and sulphur levels. Additionally for horticulture soils nitrate levels and conductivity can be tested for.