A Dark Laboratory: Exploring Soil Health Perceptions and Assessments in the Maritimes
MetadataShow full item record
Farmer interviews and soil sampling were conducted on 34 farms to explore how farmers’ soil health (SH) perceptions, assessments and management practices relate to lab SH measures: the Cornell Soil Health Assessment (CSHA), bio-indicator Folsomia candida growth, and phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA). Farmers emphasized biological and production-based SH aspects but neglected ecological considerations, and their SH assessments agreed most strongly with CSHA assessments of nutrients, available water capacity and biological activity. F. candida growth did not differentiate between soils nor reflect CSHA results. Manure application and perennial/mixed rotations were positively correlated with water-stable aggregates, soil respiration, and all PLFA microbial groups, while tillage and simplified grain/vegetable rotations were correlated with P, Cu, Al, sand and the predator:prey ratio. Results show promise for integrating CSHA and PLFA to improve SH assessment, but to affect farmers’ SH management decisions, the SH concept and testing must make sense within farmers’ worldview.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.