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Soil Analysis
Carbon is probably one of the most well-known elements today. There is a global emphasis on carbon dioxide emissions and carbon capture. In terms of agriculture, much of this focus has centered on capturing carbon by increasing soil organic matter. Organic matter encompasses all organic materials present in soil (living microorganisms and undecayed residues). Roughly,...
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In February 2022, Ward Laboratories, Inc. introduced a new tool to measure soil health. The Soil Health Assessment (SHA) is made up of four analyses. There are two biological, one chemical and one physical measurement to evaluate soil health. Biological The first biological test is the 24-hour CO2 soil respiration measurement. We take 40 grams...
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Our recent partnership with GrowingDeer has introduced us to a whole new world outside of traditional agriculture, deer hunting and soil health!  I am learning about the relationship between hunting and soil health. Just like most things, you need to take it back to the source. How did this deer get into this place and...
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The Total Nutrient Digest (TND) analysis accounts for all minerals from sand, silt, clay and organic minerals in the soil. This total represents the plant available and non-available mineral nutrients. The textbook definition of a soil is that there is about 45% mineral content.  Therefore, about 750 tons of all different minerals. The TND analysis...
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Over the past year, our soil experts have added the Soil Health Assessment test. Soil health is the overlapping areas of the chemical, physical and biological properties of the soil. Previously, the chemical or nutrient status of the soil has been the main focus of soil testing laboratories. Recent addition of biological properties have become...
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For successful soil sampling, you must submit a quality sample into the lab.  Below are some points to consider before heading out to soil sample. Choosing a Soil Probe Soil probes are available with 12-inch or 18-inch buckets.  If you will be sampling in heavy clay soil, a 12-inch probe is recommended as sampling in...
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Being aware of the potential risks of heavy metals in soils is important. In Omaha, 125 years of lead smelting at the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) resulted in elevated soil lead concentrations (around 400 ppm) near residential housing. Furthermore, a study conducted on an urban garden soil near a railroad station in Lincoln...
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Ward Laboratories uses soil test methods developed and calibrated by land grant universities.  Standard methods are published in several manuals.  We prefer to use standard methods that have performed well for many years. Soil pH & EC: We use a 1:1 water pH.  This means we measure 10 grams of soil and 10 mL of...
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Available Water Holding Capacity (AWC) of soil the amount of water held in the soil for crop growth and yield. Field capacity is the amount of water a soil will hold against gravity at a water tension of 1/3 atmosphere. Permanent wilting point is the point where plants cannot obtain more water and remain wilted...
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The Role of Bacteria Feeding soil microbes includes feeding fungi and bacteria present within the soil. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are generally 4/100,000 of an inch wide and long. A teaspoon of healthy soil can contain between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria. Because of their abundance, bacteria play important roles in the way...
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I’d be willing to wager that if you are reading this blog, you’ve probably submitted either soil, water, feed, or another of the numerous things we test, to Ward Laboratories, INC.  Then, once you’ve received your results you’ve probably called in and been able to talk to either Dr. Nick, or Dr. Ray and had...
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Reprint From June 2003 Ward Letter. Ward Laboratories professionals often get questions about surface urea application and UAN solutions. Urea is a dry fertilizer that dissolves with water after application creating urease enzyme activity that is naturally present in all soils at some level. Urease enzyme converts urea to ammonia (NH3) and bicarbonate (HCO3) in...
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