Sensitivity and Reproducibility of Soil Health Tests

Farmer: Paul DeJong, Ken Laing, Tony McQuail,

Farm: Ventry Hill Farm, Orchard Hill Farm, Meeting Place Organic Farm

Region: West

Publish Date: February 6, 2018

Article Type: Research Protocol

Research Priorities: Soil Health 

To what extent are soil health tests reproducible and sensitive to practices on ecological farms? It is widely recognized that standard soil tests often don’t reflect the fertility or production potential on ecological farms. So the question remains: what soil tests help ecological farmers assess whether different farming practices improve soil health (i.e. soil structure, biology and carbon storage)? This project will compare different soil tests from farm fields and natural reference sites (e.g. fence row, prairie, etc.) to test their reproducibility (how similar are replicated samples?) and sensitivity (how well does a soil test differentiate between fields?).

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