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The Soil Health Test

The Soil Health Test will suit anyone with the desire to learn more about their soils and productivity levels. We are utilizing the newest and fastest growing soil testing methods and protocols brought to us by Rick Haney with ARS lab out of Temple Texas and Will Brinton’s Solvita© branded products to measure soils in ways that were not possible a few years ago. For those in the NRCS-CSP program or growers looking to utilize cover crops and soil health building practices, this test will help show where you are and will help direct you to where you want to be.

The Soil Health Test utilizes the chemical and biological soil test data. It is designed to mimic natures approach to soil nutrient availability in the most accurate way possible in a lab setting. This is the culmination of nearly 20 years of research in soil fertility and has been tested on over 20,000 samples to date. Rick Haney believes this method is the next step in understanding soil nutrients and plant biology interactions within the nutrient cycle. The procedure utilizes water and a weak acid (H3A) for methods of extraction, which lets us see what nature can give to the crop under typical conditions.

Solvita© is the system that measures the soils biological activity. The one day Co2-C test is one of the most important numbers in soil biology. It tells you how much Co2 has been released by the soil in a 24 hour period after it has been wetted to simulate a natural rain event in the field. We can align this number with soil microbes and their activity level. As the microbes take in oxygen, they then release carbon dioxide which gives the number that determines the level of fertility and soil quality within that region of the field. Soil microbial activity is a response to the nutrients and the quality of the soil they are living in.

The Solvita© SLAN test gives you a measurement of a pool of organic nitrogen that cannot be identified with the standard soil testing methods. For example, areas or zones within a field that produce more bushels of a certain crop than what was fertilized for. This tool is finding some of the missing nitrogen credits. Information generated is used in adjusting the base nitrogen suggestions.

Organic carbon to organic nitrogen ratio will be identified in this test. Water extract will be used to identify the soluble nitrogen and carbon in the soil. This method mimics what happens in fields after a rain event. The ratio gives a better indicator on what microbes and plants utilize for availability. This information provides many aspects of the soils system. The data produced from this test information is used in both our nitrogen and phosphorous suggestions. Ag-Vision believes the ideal range will be between 8:1 – 16:1. If there is more nitrogen than needed, it can stimulate the biology to consume the soil organic matter. If the carbon to nitrogen ratio is too high, it will force conditions where nitrogen and phosphorous availability is decreased due to the nitrogen and phosphorus being tied up in the microbial cell.

Soil Health Calculations will be made on a scale based off of different results from the tests we perform. Soil Health suggestions will be added based on results and experience from the USDA and the ARS in this report. This will provide a suggestion for fertility and the type of cover crops to plant to enhance your soil quality and nutrient availability.
Click here for more details on the Soil Health Test.