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Measures of Soil Nitrogen Cycling
September 17, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
Measuring and assessing soil health are critical for understanding how changes in agronomic management practices affect the capability of soil to support cropping systems. In this presentation, the Soil Health Institute will focus on explaining measurements and assessments of soil health associated with soil-nitrogen dynamics. Soil scientists have been working to estimate rates of nitrogen mineralization for use in soil fertility recommendations for generations. The Soil Health Institute has investigated various means of measuring the microbially mediated process of nitrogen cycling and will discuss: soil organic carbon and nitrogen, potentially mineralizable nitrogen, microbial respiration, inorganic and organic nitrogen extractions, N-Acetyl-β-D-Glucosaminidase (NAG enzyme), and autoclaved-citrate extractable soil protein (ACE protein). For each measurement, the method or methods will be described and the meaning of the measurement will be discussed, especially as it pertains to on-farm advisers and farmers. Insights and examples from the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements will be shared to provide contextual understanding of each measurement.