To find reliable soil health tests for irrigated farms in Eastern Washington so that the results of soil building practices can be measured, such as, cover crops, organic amendments, and high-residue farming.
To do this, (1) soil tests will be calibrated to the local soils, (2) a baseline will be set for those local soils, and (3) a monitoring protocol will be used at designated sites over the three-year period.
Crops on these irrigated farms are worth over $4.1 billion each year. This project aims to reduce the risk to these growers of adopting new soil building practices.
2018 accomplishments, Year 2 of 3: Evaluate soil health tests on irrigated soils of Eastern Washington.
From Project Manager Andrew McGuire: “I was able to obtain 63 soil samples from growers in 2018, mainly producing annual crops. 44 samples are from potato fields. This gives me a total of 164 samples from 2017-2018. All samples were analyzed for POXC, MinC (Solvita lab test), and total SOM, and additional NRCS soil health tests, as proposed. We also measured % sand, silt, and clay for soil characterization. Establish soil health monitoring network in irrigated Eastern Washington. I added all data to the established database, including GPS coordinates, site background, and soil data. In addition, I have obtained data from two other soil health projects in the region and am in the process of adding this data to the database. Analyze soil health data and distribute the results. I have analyzed the data and am in the process of reporting it to all the grower cooperators. “