Soil Health Testing
Know Your Soil Microbial Activity
and Nitrogen Release Rate
There are many factors that contribute to overall Soil Health that include a combination of chemical, physical, and biological activity that perform a wide range of functions that influence plant growth. Two key indicators that measure soil health and its influence on plant growth are overall total and quality of biological activity and nitrogen mineralization.
A&L Biologicals is offering a new test which which tells you more about the biological components of your soil. This test gives you three pieces of information that equate to soil health: 1) Biological Quality, 2) Biological Activity and 3) Mineralisable nitrogen.
The technology of this test is to measure carbon-dioxide (CO2) respiration which is associated with beneficial soil and compost microorganisms. In soil, CO2 respiration reflects the quantity and quality of organic humus which is essential to sustainable fertility. In compost, it reflects the age and safety of the material. The higher the level of biological activity of soil humus, the healthier a soil is and the more nutrients – like nitrogen and phosphorus – it will provide naturally for growing plants. In addition, a microbial rich humus in soil and compost is a key to excellent soil-tilth and promotes natural resistance to soi-borne plant diseases. Combining this information with other indicators of soil health such as organic matter we can begin to get an clear indication of how healthy a soil is and its ability to release nitrogen.
Microbial Count and
Soil Nitrogen Release Rate
USING SOLVITA METHODOLOGY
Excerpts From: Soil Biology and Crop Production and Western Australian Farming Systems
“Agricultural management practices ultimately seek to optimize plant and animal productivity within the overriding constraints of both climate and the capacity of the soil (physical, chemical and biological attributes) to support plant growth (Abbott, Murphy 2003). While optimal physical and chemical conditions of the soil for plant growth are often well defined, we have a much poorer understanding of the control that biological factors, particularly pathogenic associations, have on plant growth… Once these key attributes have been identified, management practices can be selected that take into account the potential for enhanced soil biological fertility and improved yield.”
“Further analysis indicated that the influence of the microbial biomass on yield was predominately due the strong relationship (r2 = 0.77 to potentially mineralisable nitrogen.”
“Soil biological fertility was significantly correlated to grain production in WA. The benefit was predominately associated with the size of the microbial biomass, which was directly related to their capacity to decompose soil organic matter and fresh residues to release plant available nitrogen. These findings confirm our view that WA farming systems are highly reliant on biological nitrogen supply and that farming systems need to be modified where possible to fully benefit from water availability and microbial nutrient supply.”
This test can be performed separately or added on to your regular soil test.