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Soil Health


Soil Quality is “the capacity of a soil to function within ecosystem boundaries to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality, and promote plant and animal health” (Doran and Parkin, 1994). Research on soil health is a longstanding area of emphasis for CSANR, including understanding and measuring essential soil health parameters, exploring management strategies to positively impact soil functions, and providing farmers and ranchers with tools to implement improved soil quality management.

Featured Publications

The effect of formulation and application method of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi inoculants on onion seedlings in a growth chamber study, 2016.

du Toit, L.J., Brouwer, L.R., Derie, M.L., Henrichs, B.A., Holmes, B.J., and Waters, T.D. 2020. Plant Disease Management Reports 14:V059.

A Rapid Test for Plant-Available Water-Holding Capacity in Soil-Biochar Mixtures

Amonette, J.E., Flury, M., Zhang, J. 2019. A technical report completed as part of the Waste to Fuels Technology Partnership. 37 pp.

Integrating Compost and Biochar for Improved Air Quality, Crop Yield, and Soil Health

Gang, D., Collins, D., Jobson, T., Seefeldt, S., Berim, A., Stacey, N., Khosravi, N., Hoashi-Erhardt, W. 2019. A technical report completed as part of the Waste to Fuels Technology Partnership. 99 pp.

Differentiating the Value and Cost of Compost Across Likely Farm Use Scenarios in Western Washington

Hills, K., Brady, M., Yorgey, G., Collins, D. 2019. A technical report completed as part of the Waste to Fuels Technology Partnership. 17 pp.

Farmer-to-Farmer & Rancher-to-Rancher Case Studies Series

Authors include: Yorgey, G., Borrelli, K., Painter, K., Davis, H., Hall, S., Hudson, T., Neibergs, S., Reeves, M., Kruger, C., McGuire A., Finkelnburg, D., Roe, D., Brooks, E., and Kantor, S. 2016-2019. PNW Extension Publications and videos. These series explore strategies that innovative regional farmers and ranchers are using that enhance resilience to climate change and other future challenges. Case studies highlight producers in dryland and irrigated annual cropping, rangeland, and dairy production systems. Practices relate to soil health, diversification, responsive management, and many others.

Safeguarding Potato Cropping Systems in the Pacific Northwest Through Improved Soil Health

Hills, K., H. Collins, G. Yorgey, A. McGuire, C. Kruger. 2018. Report prepared for the Washington State Potato Commission. Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University. 96 pp. (large file: 13 MB)

2018 Soil Health Summit Summary Report

Saari, B.R., C.E. Kruger, G.G. Yorgey, L. Michel, W.L. Pan, J. Moore-Kucera, R. Ledgerwood, R. Koenig, and M. Clark. 2018. Washington State 2018 Soil Health Summit Summary Report. Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, Wenatchee, WA.

Nutrient Recovery: Products from dairy manure to improve soil fertility

Benedict, C., J. Harrison, S. Hall, G. Yorgey. 2018. Washington State University. FS305E.

Building Soils for Better Crops – 2016 Conference

Soil Health

Awale, R., S. Machado, R. Ghimire, P. Bista.  Soil Health. Chapter 2 In Yorgey, G. and C. Kruger, eds. Advances in Dryland Production Systems in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State University Extension, Pullman, WA.

Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest

Georgine Yorgey and Chad Kruger, Eds. 2017. Washington State University Extension. Pullman, WA.

Soil physical properties, nitrogen, and crop yield in organic vegetable production systems

Cogger, C, A. Bary, A. Fortuna, L. Myhre, and D.P. Collins. 2016. Agronomy Journal. 108:1142-1154

Cover crop effects on light, nitrogen, and weeds in organic reduced tillage

Wayman, S., C. Cogger, D. P. Collins, C. Benedict, I. Burke, and A. Bary. 2015. 39:6, 647-665, DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1018398

Productivity, economics, and fruit and soil quality of weed management systems in commercial organic orchards in Washington State, USA

Granatstein, D., P. Andrews, and A. Groff. May 2014. Organic Agriculture. DOI 10.1007/s13165-014-0068-0

The influence of cover crop variety, termination timing, and termination method on mulch, weed cover, and soil nitrate in organic reduced-tillage

Wayman, S., C. Cogger, C. Benedict, I. Burke, D. P. Collins, and A. Bary.  2014. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. FirstView: 1-11.

Soil Fertility in Organic Systems: A Guide for Gardeners and Small Acreage Farmers

Collins,D. C. Miles, C. Cogger, R. Koenig. 2013.  Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW646.

Soil Testing: A Guide for Farms with Diverse Vegetable Crops

Collins, D. 2012. Washington State University Extension. EM050E.


Additional Publications

Soil mapping and ad hoc power analysis to increase blocking efficiency prior to establishing a long-term field experiment

Collins, D.P, C. Benedict, A.I. Bary, C. Cogger. 2015. Scientific World Journal. Article ID 205392: 1-8.

Northwest Soil Science: Nitrogen Mineralization

Soil Scientist Doug Collins published an article on that explains his research on how and when soil nutrients are available to crops.

A Fine Thin Skin – wind, water, valcanoes and ice

Steury, 2011.  Article highlighting CSANR soil research in Washington State Magazine.

Farm-scale variation of soil quality indices and association with edaphic properties

Collins, D.P., C.G. Cogger, A.C. Kennedy, T. Forge, A.I. Bary, H.P. Collins, and R. Rossi. 2011.Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75 (2): 580-590.

Growing Vegetables in Areas Where Soils Were Contaminated with Heavy Metals – March 2009

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

Orchard floor management effects on nitrogen fertility and soil biological activity in newly established organic apple orchard.

L. Hoagland, L. Carpenter-Boggs, D. Granatstein, M. Mazzola, J. Smith, F. Peryea, and J. Reganold. 2008. Biology and Fertility of Soils online.

Soils and Soil Testing

Links for farmers and gardeners to resources on soil sampling, soil testing, and soil test interpretation.

Soil Quality

A series of measurements was begun in 2004 to assess selected soil physical and biological properties in a variety of cropping and management systems. Measurements include bulk density, soil compaction, soil organic matter, and aggregate stability. Biological measurements began in 2005.

Soil and winegrape quality in biodynamically and organically managed vineyards.

J. R. Reeve, L. Carpenter-Boggs, J. P. Reganold, A. L. York, G. McGourty, and L. P. McCloskey. 2005. Amer. J. Enol. Vitic. 56: 367-376.

On-farm Composting for Residue Management and Soil Quality Improvement – September 2004

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter


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