Soil Testing Time Saver Predicts Key Soil Health Characteristics


Farmers in a time crunch have a new, speedier option for analyzing the texture and organic matter content of the soil on their fields.

Gerson Drescher, assistant professor of soil fertility for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, led a study to create prediction models for these key soil health indicators based on standard tests already being used to analyze soil samples.

“We want to provide people with the maximal amount of information that they can get from samples they are already submitting without the additional cost and time of analysis,” Drescher said.

The newly developed prediction model can help add information about the soil’s properties, which can guide fertilization, irrigation, and herbicide decisions, Drescher added. Standard soil testing evaluates plant-available nutrient content and soil pH. However, these properties are also affected by soil texture and organic matter in the soil, which require additional expensive and time-consuming tests.

Read more at: University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Soil samples at the Marianna Soil Test Lab are prepared for testing. (Photo Credit: U of A System Division of Agriculture)