Researchers at the University of Maryland and Columbia University have developed a new soil testing kit designed to help farmers in third world countries.
On-the-spot soil testing could have major impact in improving crop yields due to poor soils. The kit contains battery-operated instruments and safe materials for agricultural extension agents to handle in the field. They can test for the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and potassium, as well as active organic matter, and certain soil physical limitations. The raw results of the tests are sent by cell phone to a central website. Then, calculations are made and recommendations are delivered back to the extension agent.
The kit, called SoilDoc, is the culmination of several years of work in Africa by Ray Weil, PhD. Weil, a soil scientist, spent his 2009 sabbatical working with the Millennium Villages Project in the some of the poorest areas of Africa. He started carrying common soil testing items in his backpack, but found he needed more. Back in the US, he discovered items used for testing home aquariums that would also work for soil tests. Upon returning to Africa, he adapted them with good results, carrying a larger toolkit. A colleague, Pedro Sanchez, a well-known scientist fighting world hunger, suggested that Weil create a product around his homemade kit. Sanchez brought the resources of Columbia University’s Ag and Food Security Center to bear on the project.
A post-doctoral researcher at Sanchez’s Center, Lydiah Gatere, recently rolled out the SoilDoc product. She trained 16 Tanzanian and Nigerian extension personnel. The group plans to conduct more training workshops in 2014 for Tanzania, Nigeria and possibly additional countries. Their vision is to train the trainers: thousands of extension agents, many with little more than a high school education, will then be consultants. They will be ready to diagnose soil fertility problems and offer recommendations to many thousands of “smallholder farmers.” These farmers work on less than 5 acres. The ultimate goal is to significantly increase crop production and food security in Africa.
The Latest on: Soil Testing Kit
- Networx: Soil test and amendment guide on July 27, 2017 at 9:37 am
Here’s how to test soil pH: — Purchase a soil test kit from your local garden center, containing test tubes, colored capsules, and a reference chart (AKA bells and whistles). — Read the package insert, because the methodology varies with different ... […]
- Preparing the Best Soil for Crops on July 27, 2017 at 2:33 am
Therefore a soil pH of 4 is ten times more acidic than soil with a pH of 5. Most inexpensive soil test kits from garden centers, hardware stores or home improvement stores are available, but most have proven to be unreliable. They do not indicate the ... […]
- Construction equipment: Geotechnical drill offers depth control with automatic hammer on July 26, 2017 at 11:23 am
Additionally, an optional anchor kit enables the LST1G+HDA to deliver push-down ... Seven models are available for use in a variety of applications, including soil sampling, geotechnical testing and auger drilling. This webcast takes a look at how mobile ... […]
- Extension system holding soil discussion in Killen on July 26, 2017 at 8:42 am
KILLEN — Representatives with the Alabama Cooperative Extension office will be at the Killen’s Farmer Market Saturday to discuss soil testing. Taylor Reeder with ... will also be giving out soil-sampling kits. The Milner’s Chapel Bluegrass Band ... […]
- Soil Test Kit on July 23, 2017 at 5:44 pm
Use this Soil Test Kit to assess primary nutrients (N-P-K) as well as pH levels. By testing your soil, you determine its exact condition so you can fertilize more effectively and economically. Soil should be tested periodically throughout the growing season. […]
via Google News and Bing News