What Influences Soil Health? – Dig Deeper with eFields Soil Health Statewide Survey

99How do your soil type and past management practices influence soil health? Find out by participating in the eFields Soil Health Statewide Survey. For this trial, we are seeking fields with various management practices, including:

  • Long term no-till
  • Conventional tilled
  • Cover cropped (overwintering and winter-killed)
    • Cereal rye
    • Red clover
    • Oat/radish mix
  • Organic nutrients (manure)

ANR Extension Educator Sarah Noggle and Water Quality Extension Associate Rachel Cochran will sample soils in May – June, prior to any spring nutrient application. Cooperating farmers will be asked to complete a brief management survey to accompany soil samples. Soil cores will be collected at three depths from each location and processed at the Ohio State Fertility Lab on the Wooster Campus. In addition to routine nutrient analyses, samples will be measured using the following soil health indicators:

  • Total organic matter
  • Active carbon – permanganate oxidizable carbon test that will estimate the portion of the soil organic matter readily available to microorganisms
  • Aggregate stability on a subset of samples – a test that will estimate soil’s susceptibility to water erosion

Overall, this work will improve future recommendations for soil sample collection to quantify soil health differences in varying cropping systems. If you are interested in participating or learning more, call 419-399-8225 or e-mail noggle.17@osu.edu. More information can also be found on pages 222-225 in the 2020 eFields Report at https://digitalag.osu.edu/efields/efields-reports.

eFields is a program at The Ohio State University program dedicated to advancing production agriculture through field-scale research. To learn more visit digitalag.osu.edu.


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