Alberta soil health: an expansion of the Alberta soil quality monitoring project

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $500,000
Commodity: Soil
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: M Derek MacKenzie

Measuring, maintaining, and/or improving soil health has been identified as a priority by the agricultural industry and government stakeholders in Alberta.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Measuring, maintaining, and/or improving soil health has been identified as a priority by the agricultural industry and government stakeholders in Alberta. A recent shift in soil health monitoring strategies suggests that physical, chemical, and biological indicators must be evaluated together to provide better assessment.

In 1997/98, a series of benchmark sites were selected across Alberta, marking the beginning of an expanded soil monitoring program in the province. This research will expand the data set and evaluate the long-term response of soil quality to various agricultural practices, and will also attempt to define soil health at these benchmark sites.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

Collected data will be linked to a database on soil health (DASH) and a productivity decision framework (DIRTS), linking changes in soil biology, chemical, and physical properties to farm management practices over the past 20 years. This data will help determine whether or not current practices are degrading, sustaining, or improving soil health.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Several activities and outputs will be used to build awareness of outcomes, primarily through encouraging the use and distribution of the DIRTS and DASH systems.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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