See the take-aways from the second of two major studies in soil health research from major US universities that will guide soil health recommendations.

Soil health is a newer area being investigated in ag research, as it’s “a largely unexplored area of agriculture,” according to a Growing Produce article. The article shared two recent studies in soil health research that will likely serve as “foundational studies” in the future. The first was from Cornell University. The second is from The Ohio State University, looking at whether an ideal ratio of base cations will maximize yields, and it offered interesting results. See the details below.

Second Study in Soil Health Research Details

According to the article, the second study was a six-year undertaking to test the theory that an ideal ratio of base cations will maximize yields. The theory is called base-cation saturation ratio, or BCSR, and it’s widely used in organic farming. In the abstract, the soil health research team wrote, “Studies evaluating the efficacy of BCSR on soil biological and physical properties are lacking.”

The study included applying soil amendments — control, gypsum (calcium sulfate), and epsom (magnesium sulfate) — to affect soil calcium and magnesium levels, both raising and lowering levels in two organic corn and soybean.

The team also “assessed soil biological health by measuring permanganate oxidizable carbon, mineralizable carbon, and soil protein,” and “measured soil physical quality through aggregate stability, infiltration, and penetration resistance.”

The research showed that “Results from this study do not provide any evidence that BCSR improves soil health and organic field crop productivity,” according to the article.

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