R&D Project:

Soil Quality Survey 2015-2020

Overview

Status: Completed

Project Timeline: January 2015 – December 2020

Objectives

  1. Is the kit farmer field friendly?
    We addressed this in the 2015 season and found that some of the methods were time consuming for a field test. We modified the methods supplied with the kit.
  2. Which soil properties are relevant to each on-farm demo?
    We selected a core of 7 “must do” soil properties, then added more as requested by the cooperator or relevant to the questions at the on farm demonstrations.
  3. Does the field kit assist in dialog with farmers to improve their management practices?
    The methods and results were conversation starters at more than a dozen workshops and field days over the last 5 years.
  4. Can the field kit help establish benchmarks with cooperators that can be revisited later to measure changes?
    This report shares the field work methods and preliminary answers to these questions. To date, 32 pairs or 64 benchmarks each have summary Soil Quality Report Cards, involving 17 cooperators spread across the Peace (primarily in BC).

Progress

Overview

The soil quality field kit was initiated by Sandra Burton & Dr. Bill McGill, over 5 years ago as a communication tool during PRFA-UNBC Soils, Forage & Water Dynamics Courses. It was further tested during 2 larger producer innovation based projects: Innovative Management Practices for Resiliency & Improving Productivity & Profitability of Forages. We have enjoyed collaboration with many people, especially Julie Robinson, Matthias Loeseken, Aaron Mackay and the 17 farm cooperators involved in the study.

Summary

Even tiny changes in indicators can have ripple effects and huge impacts on soil health, crop productivity and ultimately profitability. The 64 benchmarks established during this study can be revisited to monitor changes in soil quality after improving management practices. The soil quality field kit was a great tool for discussing soil health with farmers at field days or with students during soils courses.

See Factsheets & Documents section for full results.

Project Cooperators

  • Ron Buchanan
    Montney, BC, Canada
  • Shellie English
    Montney, BC, Canada
  • Tobin Dirks
    Cecil Lake, BC, Canada
  • Craig Fossum
    Groundbirch, BC, Canada
  • Heather Fossum
    Pouce Coupe, BC, Canada
  • Fred Schneider
    Pouce Coupe, BC, Canada
  • Andrew Clarke
    Baldonnel, BC, Canada
  • Tara Holmes
    Rose Prairie, BC, Canada
  • Gordon Lazinchuk
    Bessborough, BC, Canada
  • Bill Wilson
    Silver Valley, AB, Canada
  • Clay Armstrong
    Goodfare, AB, Canada
  • Burton Kabzems
    Lebell Road, Farmington, BC, Canada

Project Contacts

  • Sandra Burton
  • Dr. Bill McGill

Factsheets & Documents