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Improving Soil Testing Services and Fertilizer Usage for Urban Communities

Start Date: 2020
Principal Investigators: Dr. Carl Rosen
Organization: University of Minnesota
Status: Complete

Background Info

The soil testing laboratory is part of the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources. Our recommendations are based on laboratory results, soil characteristics, crop history, crop nutrient requirements and are specific to Minnesota locations and conditions. With over 100 tests available, our goals are to provide a high level of analytical precision, quality, and accuracy, with timely results, to every client, for every sample tested.

Test data for 1000+ requests for soil tests have been entered into the new system to verify accuracy and performance. During validation, remaining issues are being dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The billing and accounting systems have been tested and are functional. A new pricing mechanism is being built into the system to allow for future price adjustments.

Objectives

1) Load all currently-available fertilizer recommendations, rules, and comments into the new database;

2) Develop the billing, client-report interface and web-based support tools;

3) Create new reports that are specific to each sample, with pointed comments and less extraneous or generalized information;

4) Develop a garden fertilizer calculator that will feature prominently on our Soil Test interpretation web page;

5) Create side-by-side validation/verification of “demo” reports;

6) Once validation is complete, set up demonstrations with Extension Educators to familiarize them with the new product to commence later this summer. Projected release for the public is Spring 2022.

Key Examples

Recommendations for Vegetable Gardens

 

Lime: 0 #ENP/A

Nitrogen: 0.15 lb/100 sq. ft.

Phosphate: 0 lb/100 sq. st.

Potash: 0.1 lb/100 sq. ft.

Recommendations for Onions, Dry

 

Lime: 2,000 #ENP/A

Nitrogen: 130 lb/A

P2O5: 5 lb/A

K2O: 150 lb/A

Zinc: 1 lb/A

Manganese: 0 lb/A

Copper: 0.3 lb/A

Calcium: 0 lb/A

Magnesium: 0 lb/A

* Application method recommendation is broadcast for all nutrients

Recommendations for Tomatoes

 

Lime: 0 #ENP/A

Nitrogen: 110 lb/A

P2O5: 250 lb/A

K2O: 150 lb/A

Calcium: 0 lb/A

Magnesium: 0 lb/A

* Application method recommendation is broadcast for all nutrients

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