Last Tuesday, Dr. Rick Haney joined 31 attendees to talk about the Haney soil health test, which Haney began developing as a graduate student in the '90s. During his talk, Haney delved into the history, science, and importance of the soil test. The Haney test uses water to measure nutrients in the soil, instead of "extract[ing] soil with chemistry the soil never sees."
Haney cited the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, which is currently 3,275 square miles, to help make the case for soil testing. The over-application of nutrients is "money out of your pocket into watersheds, into drinking water, into the sea, into the Gulf... we've got to stop doing that." Results from the Haney test can help farmers understand what nutrients are available in the soil for crops so that they can reduce the number of inputs, thus reducing the chemical run-off into water.
Participants asked several questions, including timing and location of soil tests, activity levels of fungi, bacteria, and protozoa, and using cover crops. To learn more, click the button in this post to watch the recording. For questions, contact the Linn Soil and Water Conservation District at (319) 377-5960, extension 3.
"Farmers are looking for something new that helps them. We think this soil testing is one tool in the toolbox that can help you get down the road better."
-Dr. Rick Haney
New Soil Health Coordinator