Jul 22, 2021
Long-term field research shows value of Solvita soil tests

A long-term study by the University of Guelph shows the usefulness of Solvita soil tests as tools to predict soil health.

The study, published in the September 2021 edition of Soil and Tillage Research, shows Solvita tests enabled a high level of certainty in “useful” cropping comparisons and correlated with soil carbon levels and soil total nitrogen, according to a news release Soltiva’s owner, Wood End Laboratories.

Solvita soil tests capture key biological, chemical and physical traits indicating healthy functioning in a farm system, according to the news release. The tests predict soil health indicators such as Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) and Total Nitrogen (TN). Highlights of the research (Long-term effects of crop rotation, tillage, and fertilizer nitrogen on soil health indicators and crop productivity in a temperate climate) included:

  • Diversifying rotations with perennial and cover crops increased yields.
  • Higher concentration of SOC, evolved CO2-C and Solvita Amino-N developed from diverse rotations.
  • SOC positively linked with crop yield; thus, SOC an indicator of agricultural resilience.
  • Solvita labile amino nitrogen (SLAN) and Solvita CO2-burst positively correlated with SOC & total nitrogen.
  • Applied nitrogen in diverse rotations had a synergistic effect on soil health indicators.

“The study accessed two long-term plot studies, providing optimal platforms to evaluate soil health test parameters,” said Will Brinton, founder and chief science officer of Woods End Laboratories. “Such long-term practices provide greater confidence in distinguishing soil quality effects in laboratory analyses than reliance on short term studies. These projects reflect significant commitments of researchers supporting sustainability research objectives. Both Solvita tests (SLAN + CO2) were tested in several combinations of crops, soil management regimes and time frames confirming their usefulness in monitoring changes that are indicative of soil health improvements.”

He said the company has worked equally with fruit and vegetable growers as with row crop farmers.

“For example, we have served organic vineyard soil testing especially on the west coast,” Brinton said. “Also, traditionally, we have specialized in organic farmer soil and composting analysis support – and these test kits were really developed very much with biological farmers in general – but it is expanding successfully to conventional growers who wish to become more aware of soil biological processes.”

He added, “The study further confirms that soil health is critical to the future of society in so far as it links farming, nutrition and climate under the theme of sustainable practices.”

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