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An Illustrated Manual on Soil Health Assessment Protocols and Management Options for Training and Outreach 2006

Download the entire report in pdf format, 78k

Project Leader: G. Abawi, Dept. of Plant Pathology, NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456

Cooperators: H. van Es, et al.

Abstract: The Cornell Soil Health Team has made considerable progress in promoting soil health literacy, developing cost-effective protocols for assessing the health status of soils in New York, demonstrating soil health management options, and conducting hands-on trainings and workshops. The Cornell Soil Health Team has prepared and will soon disseminate an illustrated, user-friendly, color manual on soil health constraints, assessment protocols and management practices for improving the health status of soils in New York State and the Northeast region. The primary purpose of the manual is to:

1) provide an overview of the concept of soil health;

2) describe soil constraints and soil quality issues common to soils in New York and the Northeast region, especially in vegetable and field crop production systems;

3) provide guidelines on how-to conduct in-field soil health assessment;

4) provide an overview of laboratory methods used to assess the health status of soil;

5) identify management options for improving soil health based on identified constraints;

6) increase awareness of and literacy on soil health issues; and

7) provide a list of additional resources on soil health and soil health related topics.

The manual provides information specific to understanding how to read and interpret the recently developed Cornell soil health report and then links identified soil constraints with needed management practices, both in the short and long-term. Initially, copies of the manual will be provided free-of-charge to those attending the training workshops and will be available to download for free as a pdf file at the Cornell Soil Health website; but it will later be made available for purchase. The manual can also be printed in variable quantities on demand. This is a valuable resource for continued outreach activities and promotion of soil health management strategies, thus increasing farm profitability and environmental quality.