The objective of this program is to monitor biological and physical properties of soil that affect soil health and crop production. This assessment is meant to be a supplement to routine soil sampling for fertility recommendations. This program will help identify factors that may be limiting crop growth other than nutrients, such as soil microbial health, soil structural integrity, or compaction. It will help establish best management practices for tillage, cover crops, biological inoculants and other amendments that may help improve soil health and nutrient cycling.
- Soil Health Assessment
- Soil Health and Fertility Audit by Woods End Labs – Samples will be pulled annually in April or May as soil is warming up and crops are beginning to grow. Samples will be analyzed by Woods End Labs for soil health characteristics. This sampling will be done on a predominate soil type for each farm with a target sample frequency of every 200 acres. These locations are chosen at the beginning of the program and all samples are taken from the same location each year to follow changes in soil health characteristics.
- MicroBiometer Sampling – Samples will be taken from soil closely associated with crop roots and will be analyzed for fungal and bacterial biomass. Target timings will be V3-V5 on corn and soybeans and early square on cotton.
- Compaction Analysis – Soil penetrometer readings down to 18 inches will be taken and recorded for each location. This will be conducted during a relatively dry portion of the growing season, likely in May or June. If compaction is of great concern, additional locations from each farm may be analyzed as well for an additional fee to be determined by the scale and scope of work needed.
- Soil Health Management Plan
- Recommendations will be provided for cover crop use, appropriate tillage and biological inoculants to improve various aspects of soil health, including structure and compaction, nutrient cycling and biological characteristics.
- Woods End Lab Report – Solvita CO2 respiration, Solvita Fertility Color Score, Solvita SLAN, Aggregate Stability, Bulk Density, Organic Matter
- IMPACT Agronomics Report – Results from MicroBiometer test, Compaction Analysis, Estimated Nitrogen Release, and Commentary on Wood End Results.
- IMPACT Agronomics Recommendations – Recommendations will be provided for improving soil health, including cover crops and appropriate tillage to manage compaction, and methods to improve soil structure.