Research

Developing a soil health assessment protocol for Saskatchewan producers

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2018
  • Funding Amount: $ 37,820
  • Lead Researcher(s): Kate Congreves (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Funding Partners: Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SCDC)

Project Description:

This project focuses on developing a Saskatchewan or prairie-based soil health testing protocol available to producers.

Soil health testing has been identified as a research priority by many producers. Developing a Saskatchewan Soil Health Assessment Protocol (SSHAP) will provide producers with a decision management tool that will help them assess the soil health of their lands and subsequently improve health of their soils. In turn, this will likely have multiple economic benefits such as higher crop yields, improved crop yield stability, increased resiliency against droughts or severe weather events, and perhaps reduce water demand due to improvements in water holding capacity. Thus, if Saskatchewan producers are to remain on the leading-edge of Canadian agriculture, it is essential that the Province has its own soil health test—one that is specifically suited to the semi-arid climate and major soil zones in Saskatchewan. At present, there is no Saskatchewan or prairie-based soil health test available to producers.

The main objectives are to identify the soil properties that best characterize soil health in the semi-arid prairies; to quantify the effects of medium and long-term agricultural management (tillage system, crop rotation) on soil health; and to develop a new producer-oriented manual (soil health assessment protocol) for measuring soil health in Saskatchewan. The proposed project will fill this gap by developing Saskatchewan’s first soil health testing protocol.

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