Lowering pH / Soil Tests / Building Soils book
aclark at nal.usda.gov
Fri Oct 20 11:45:43 EDT 2000
An excellent resource on soils was just published by the USDA's Sustainable
The 240-page Building Soils for Better Crops, 2nd Edition, has a 22-page
chapter called "Getting the Most from Soil Tests." This chapter explains
the different values that you get from different tests, and includes 5
sample soil tests, interpreted for the reader in great detail.
Please see our web site (http://www.sare.org/htdocs/pubs/) or below for more
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alex McGregor
> I would suggest you wait for your "complete soil analysis"
> before adding
> anything. A complete soil analysis should include major
> nutrients and trace
> minerals, not just NPK and pH.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andy Clark (301) 504-6425
Fred Magdoff (802) 656-0472
June 23, 2000
Build Healthy Soil to Improve Yields and Profits
New Book Maps Out Whole-Farm Strategies to Achieve Quality Soil
Beltsville, MD - Healthy soils are key to producing good harvests with
minimal pest problems. Maintaining a balanced soil ecosystem, however,
remains a challenge for even the most experienced growers.
A new book from USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) unlocks the
secret of building a diverse ecosystem below ground to foster healthy crops
above. Ecological soil management, as detailed by the soil experts who wrote
Building Soils for Better Crops, can raise fertility, promote good soil
tilth, improve nutrient levels and boost yields, all while reducing adverse
"This is the most practical guide I have read about how whole soil systems
work," said Fred Kirschenmann, a North Dakota grain and livestock farmer.
"Written in clear, illustrative language, it makes the world of soils
accessible to farmers and beginning students, as well as soil science
The 240-page Building Soils, which SAN published in June, presents soil
quality concepts in an engaging, easy-to-read style. The book contains
detailed information about the makeup of soils and the management practices
that positively - or negatively - affect soils, as well as practical
information such as how to interpret soil test results. Five farmer profiles
add real-life examples of profit-enhancing approaches to soil management.
Background chapters detail the basics of soil health, organic matter,
nutrients and soil physical properties. Other chapters delve into management
strategies and their benefits to cropping systems. Some of those strategies
o Increasing soil organic matter
o Using appropriate tillage
o Incorporating animal manures
o Making and using composts
o Integrating cover crops into rotations
o Reducing erosion
o Methods to avoid and decrease soil compaction
o Ways to evaluate soil health
The book's hands-on approach makes it a natural for farmers and ranchers,
who will likely see results just a season or two after changing their
practices. Research has shown that planting cover crops and reducing
tillage, for example, can improve soil structure in just one to two years.
The book also will appeal to gardeners, students and agricultural educators
who work with producers.
"I'm excited to find in print the practical approaches I attempt to use in
my extension program," said John Hart, an Oregon soil fertility and plant
Building Soils is the third in a practical handbook series published by SAN,
which is the national outreach arm of USDA's Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education (SARE) program. Since 1988, SARE has been USDA's
primary means of researching and promoting farming systems that are
profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.
To order by credit card, please call 802-656-0484.
Make your check or purchase order ($19 + s/h) payable to Sustainable
Agriculture Publications and mail to:
Sustainable Agriculture Publications
Hills Building, Room 10
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405-0082
Add $3.95 s/h for first book and $0.95 for each additional book up to
9. For s/h charges on 10 or more books, please call (802) 656-0484. For each
book sent outside of North America, add $6.00 for the first book and $2.50
for each additional book.
Please allow 3 to 5 weeks for delivery.
Editors: For a review copy, contact Abiola Adeyemi, (301) 504-6422;
aadeyemi at nal.usda.gov
Andy Clark, Ph.D.
c/o AFSIC, Room 304
National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Ave.
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351
san at nal.usda.gov
More information about the Market-farming