Will Brinton, Ph.D., explains the importance of various soil tests and how they relate to each other for overall soil health and productivity. He also discusses nutrient cycling and its role in soil health.

Soil Health
  • Cooperation of plants + organisms
  • No single test for soil health
  • different lab tests may reveal similar ranking
Tools Selected Based on Function
  • soil food-carbon
  • primary and secondary decomposers
  • nutrient + OM transport
  • structure & infiltration
  • respirator CO2-O2 Influx- Efflux
Soil Health Testing Issues
  • Practice of farming
    • are analyses relevant at magnitude of farming practices
    • can results be interpreted into management decisions
  • Practice of Science
    • disturbance of trait by lab process (sampling, drying, grinding)
    • converting results into fertilizer rates vs soil building practices
    • need to adjust indicators for physiographic regions
Multiple Factors Affect Soil Health
  • Soil order maps follow geophysical areas
  • climate intersects each soil zone and changes the quality significantly
  • Healthy soil arises out of intersection of
    • physical
    • chemical
    • and biological forces
  • Farmer innovation with soil health cropping increases complexity of analysis
Testing Methods
  • Soil CO2 Burst
  • SLAN Amino N
  • ISNT
  • Solvita test
  • VAST: Volumetric Aggregate Stability Test
  • Soil biology tests varied less than nutrient tests

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