2019 Soil Sampling ProtocolBy SHP Staff on Thursday, 18 April, 2019
It often helps to know your destination before you start your journey. Our mission at SHP is centered on measuring and communicating the economic and environmental benefits of different farm management strategies. The first step is knowing the end goal and then working backwards with a strong plan and protocol. Proper soil testing allows you to gain a clear and concise understanding of your current soil health.
This year, SHP has updated our soil sampling protocols further. Five years of experience and a growing network has taught us much. The soil sampling and science space has also evolved during that time so we are able to take advantage of new science and development to bring to our farmers.
To further support our Partner sites, we have updated our soil protocol to align with our testing labs and provide the most accurate data. Depending on when the farm started with the program, soil samples collected will be analyzed for standard soil nutrients and/or key soil health indicators at one or more independent, national soil laboratories. Several analysis markers will be utilized to establish a baseline soil characterization for our long-term soil health data recommendations:
- Ward Labs Standard Nutrient Analysis: P, K, pH, BpH, OM, S, Zn, Ca, Mg, Na, %BSAT, CEC
- Cornell University: Texture, organic matter, aggregate stability, available water capacity, active carbon, soil respiration, ACE (Autoclave Citrate Extractable) soil protein
- Ward Labs for Soil Health Nutrient Tool: Bio-available N, bio-available P, also known as the “Haney Test”.
A 1-acre grid sampling map will be provided to each cooperator to facilitate the soil sampling. Each grid map will have individually assigned grid sampling points and will follow a pre-assigned naming convention provided by SHP. All samples will be a composite of 12 soil cores, collected in a 30’ circle around the established sample point, with one sample at a depth of 0-2 inches and the other at 2-6 inches. Soil Health Test for Cornell and Soil Health Nutrient Tool will be a composite sample of 0-6 inch soil cores from each grid point within each different farm management strip. To collect high-quality samples Soil Health Partnership Field Managers are more than happy to assist growers with any questions and provide field assistance.
Learn more about our 2019 soil sampling protocol, visit our resources tab.