Re: reinventing soil testing

Plants use active transport to take up nutrients.  Your sorptive
technologies will not model this plant up-take, but will reflect the
soluble nutrients in the soil.  Rich organic soil will not rate as well as
poorer soils that have been doused with soluble nutrients.  Chemical
fertilizer manufactures will love your  test results, but they will not
help farmers know if they are improving the long term productivity of their
soils.   (Most plant can take-up nutrients bound onto humic material, and
humic material holds much more nutrients than mineral soil material, and I
can see no reason why nutrients would migrate from humic material to the
carbon or resin test material.) 
R.J.(Bob) Evans <bob.evans@sk.sympatico.ca> wrote in article
> On 27 Jan 1997 18:11:12 GMT gyoung@pacific.net (Gregg A Young) wrote:
> >1) I think there is no one system (although the largest labs in the
> >Harris and A & L Labs all use similiar; partially based on Albrechts
> >system (although recommendations sometimes ignore his main concepts. The
> >basic problem is most labs & spit out recommendations, dealers hand them
> >to farmers (sometimes with their local input); no one tries to get
> >to understand how soils work.
> As the owner/manager of a multi-branch farm supply dealership I can
> attest that this indeed is the problem.  I define soil testing as a
> two part process:
> 1) the mechanical - gathering the sample, analytical and generating a
> reccomendation based on some database. 
> 2) the human - interpreting the reccomendation in the light of local
> conditions and known management style and capability of the grower
> All our efforts at "improving" the process seem to be directed at the
> mechanical phase of this process.  I don't believe that will
> ultimately lead to an improvement in utilization of nutrient resources
> because I believe the real problem lies in the human portion of the
> process.  
> >2) I think we know a lot more than is applied; its made much more
> >complicated than it really is.
> >3) I think exchangeable resins, with standard soil tests & plant
> >would be excellant - with the possible addition of QUALITY of OM tests
> >(such as Wood's End Lab does) would be as complete as possible.
> >4) ???
> >
> >I am presently working on a soil science training manual as my Master's
> >thesis; it will be to use my 20+ year's testing & field experience in N
> >California using Albrechts system. I did a survey of 40 N Coast
> >dealers - 1/2 do not even use soil testing; of those who do 1/2 do not
> >write their own recommendations: Less than 25% of the dealers understand
> >enough to interpret tests & write recommendations for the growers they
> >work with!
> >   This manual will explain how to interpret lab analyses & make recs.
> >Should be very useful for farmers, consultants, researchers, managers,
> >etc.
> I will look forward to seeing your results especially if you can
> incorporate some extension component either before or after the
> process is complete.  
> --
> R.J.(Bob) Evans
> Nipawin, SK