Results of the Cornell Soil Health Test for Soils of Different Cropping Systems and Management.
Omololu Idowu1, Harold van Es1, Robert Schindelbeck1, George Abawi1, David Wolfe1, and Heather Darby2. (1) Cornell University, Cornell University, 1015 Bradfield Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, (2) University of Vermont, University of Vermont Extension, 278 S. Main St., St. Albans, VT 05478
The recently developed Cornell Soil Health Test (CSHT) was used to quantify the quality of soils in fields with contrasting textures (sand, silt and clay) and under different crop management systems (field crop, vegetable and dairy systems) in New York and Vermont. The indicators used in the CSHT include wet aggregate stability, available water capacity, surface hardness, sub-surface hardness, organic matter, active carbon, potentially mineralizable nitrogen, root health, pH, extractable phosphorus, extractable potassium and some minor elements. A total of 93 fields were assessed for physical, chemical and biological soil quality indicators. The physical indicator results show that aggregate stability was a constraint in about 60% of sand and silt fields, while less than 40% of the clay fields were limited. While 45% of the clay fields scored low on surface hardness, only about 20% or less of the sand and silt fields were limited. The clay and the sand fields were equally affected by the subsurface hardness with about 45% of the fields affected. Higher proportion of the sandy fields exhibited limitations in most of the biological indicators compared to the silt and clay fields. Physical and biological indicators were severely limiting in many fields that were under vegetable and field crop systems while the dairy systems had fewer constraints. For example, while aggregate stability was a constraint in about 80% of vegetable and about 70% of field crops fields, it was only a constraint in about 20% of dairy fields. Higher proportion of field crop fields had constraints of surface and subsurface compaction compared to vegetable and dairy fields. The chemical indicators were mostly non- limiting across the soil textures and management. The CSHT highlights the constraining indicators in soils with varied textures and under different management practices which can help in planning and targeting soil management practices.