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2017 Tier I Measurements

 

What’s in Your Soil Test?
How Today’s Top Producers Assess Soil Health

U.S. agricultural leaders have adopted 19 measurements that are considered effective indicators of soil health, despite regionally specific conditions. These Tier I Soil Health Indicators have been subjected to scientifically rigorous methodologies and adopted only after a three-year national scientific collaboration.

USDA-NRCS

CHEMICAL INDICATORS
Base Saturation
Cation Exchange Capacity
Electrical Conductivity
Nitrogen
Micronutrients
pH
Phosphorus
Potassium

PHYSICAL INDICATORS
Available Water Holding Capacity
Bulk Density
Infiltration Rate
Erosion Rating
Penetration Resistance
Texture
Water Stable Aggregation

BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS
Crop Yield
Nitrogen Mineralization
Organic Carbon
Carbon Mineralization


The agricultural industry continues to research and evaluate additional measurements to determine their Tier 1 merit. Such research involves understanding regional differences in interpretation, establishing thresholds, and developing management recommendations that consistently improve soil functioning. Researchers have committed to adding only evidence-based indicators that quantify soil health and provide accurate science-based information to ranchers and farmers. To learn more, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/. To stay informed of soil health research and recommendations, please subscribe to the Soil Health Institute mailing list, available at https://soilhealthinstitute.org/contact/.