Soil Testing Procedures for Biologically Based Sys

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Information about Soil Testing Procedures for Biologically Based Sys

Published on October 4, 2007

Author: Kestrel


Soil Testing Procedures for Biologically Based Systems:  Soil Testing Procedures for Biologically Based Systems Raymond C. Ward Ward Laboratories, Inc Kearney, Nebraska Soil Testing for No Till Farmers:  Soil Testing for No Till Farmers I have been interested in developing soil tests that could be analyzed quickly and at low cost that could let the farmer know how well his operation was improving yield and soil health. Researchers at the National Tilth Lab at Ames Iowa are developing a soil quality index that may give the right parameters to analyze. Soil Quality Index:  Soil Quality Index Total Organic C Potential Mineralizable N Soil pH Soil Extractable P Sodium Adsorption Ratio Electrical Conductivity Microbial Biomass C Microbial Quotient qCO2 Macroaggregate Stability Available Water Capacity Bulk Density Carbon Cycle:  Carbon Cycle Total Organic Carbon:  Total Organic Carbon Soil Organic Matter test Loss on Ignition (LOI) Carbon Analyzer Soil Organic Matter is 58 % C Food for Microbes Microbial Biomass:  Microbial Biomass Biological Activity Active Soil Carbon Increases with Cropping Intensity Measurement involves Incubation for 3 days or more Particulate Organic Matter:  Particulate Organic Matter Decomposed Residue Slow Turnover Pool of OM Soils with the Most Intensive Cropping System Contains the Highest POM Major Substrate used by Microbes Mineral Associated Organic Carbon:  Mineral Associated Organic Carbon This Organic Carbon is Not Influenced by Cropping Intensity It is the Largest Supply of Organic Carbon Takes Years to Increase Stabilized (that part we could not destroy by tillage) Nitrogen Cycle:  Nitrogen Cycle Nitrogen Cycle:  Nitrogen Cycle Plant and Animal Residue/Organic Soil N/Air N Microorganisms Ammonification (NH4) – Plant Uptake – Soil Complex Nitrification (NO3) – Plant Uptake – Leaching - Denitrification Immobilization (Soil Organic N) Sulfur Cycle:  Sulfur Cycle Sulfur Cycle:  Sulfur Cycle Plant and Animal Residues/Organic Soil S Microbial Breakdown Oxidation/Reduction Sulfates/Sulfides and from Fertilizers, etc Sulfate Plant uptake Leaching Soil Minerals No-Till Sulfur Deficiency:  No-Till Sulfur Deficiency Most of the Sulfur in the soil is held in the organic matter portion of the soil The idea is to build organic matter to improve the health of the soil and increase productivity C : N : S ratio 100C : 8N : 1S Soil Sample Depth:  Soil Sample Depth Evaluating No-Till 0-2 inches most active 2-6 inches 6-12 inches Evaluating Fertility 0-8 inches for all nutrients 8-36 inches for Nitrate, Chloride, Sulfate Nutrient Uptake and Root Structure:  Nutrient Uptake and Root Structure Granular Structure:  Granular Structure Microbe Tests:  Microbe Tests Soil pH:  Soil pH Important for Crop Growth Important for Microbe Growth Tendency to Decrease over Time Some Herbicides Less Affective at Low pH Broadleaf Crops Contain more Calcium and Magnesium Optimum Soil pH :  Optimum Soil pH Crop Mid Point Range (+/-) Wheat 6.3 .75 Corn 6.3 2.0 Soybean 6.3 1.2 Sunflower 6.6 2.1 Field Peas 6.5 1.0 Nitrate Soil Test:  Nitrate Soil Test Consider nitrate in your root zone Total Lbs/A are available Subtract total Lbs/A from N requirement N recommendation based on nitrate in the root zone Phosphorus Soil Test:  Phosphorus Soil Test Soil test ppm P Rating % Sufficiency 0-5 Very Low 25-50 6-12 Low 45-80 13-25 Medium 70-95 26-50 High 90-100 51+ Very High 100 Phosphorus deficiency:  Phosphorus deficiency Potassium Soil Test:  Potassium Soil Test Soil Test ppm K Rating % Sufficiency 0-40 Very Low 20-50 41-80 Low 45-80 81-120 Medium 70-95 121-200 High 90-100 201+ Very High 100 Sulfur Soil Test:  Sulfur Soil Test Soil Test ppm S Rating 0-3 Very Low 4-6 Low 8-12 Medium 13-20 High 20+ Very High Sulfur in Wheat:  Sulfur in Wheat Sulfur Deficiency:  Sulfur Deficiency Zinc Soil Test:  Zinc Soil Test Soil Test ppm Zn Rating 0-.25 Very Low .26-.50 Low .51-1.00 Medium 1.01+ High Zinc Deficiency Wheat:  Zinc Deficiency Wheat Zinc deficiency:  Zinc deficiency Zinc Deficiency Wheat:  Zinc Deficiency Wheat Copper Soil Test:  Copper Soil Test 0-.20 Low .20-.60 Medium >.60 High Copper Deficiency Wheat:  Copper Deficiency Wheat Copper Deficiency Wheat:  Copper Deficiency Wheat

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