Stop Guessing, Start Testing
It is nearly impossible to predict what affect any product will have on your soil if you have no idea what is going on within your soil. The very first step anyone should take is to find out what are they working with? Once you have determined what your soil lacks or has an abundance of you can begin to restructure the soil from a biological standpoint.
Benefits of Healthy Soil
Improved Water Use
Living soils increase drainage and water holding capacity by building better soil structure. This reduces runoff and soil erosion, and improves drought resistance.
Efficient Nutrient Cycling
Living soils cycle nutrients through biological processes. As bacteria and fungi break down minerals into forms that the plant can use, fertilizer needs are reduced.
The need for chemicals is decreased, and nutrient availability is increased. There is less disease and water consumption, which means less time spent in the fields.
Reduced Management Costs
As the soil becomes healthier, the microbiology begins to thrive, and the whole system improves. All these factors translate into savings for the farm, and more time with your family.
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Soil Testing Process
Earthfort specializes in soil biology. We analyze biology reports completed with a soil test and then make recommendations to improve that soil depending on our client’s goal. We take proven science and translate that into practical application. Soil testing can help you achieve healthy soil.
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Ship Soil Sample
Get Your Results
Why Is Biology Testing Important?
By knowing the current soil biology you are able to make adjustments that are more suitable for the desired crop, which will maximize crop production. Ongoing monitoring ensures optimal conditions throughout the growing season and leads to reduced dependency on fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides which is more environmentally friendly and saves production costs. When using less traditional fertilizers you lessen the amount of salt in the soil which in turn requires less water consumption. In addition, good biology lessens soil compaction creating room for deeper root systems. Read More Here:
Why Should I Test With Earthfort?
Earthfort specializes in soil biology; we believe if you can measure it, you can manage it. We have been measuring biology since the laboratory opened in 1996. We use proven methods of direct count microscopy which are referenced under our assay descriptions. Our Essential test assesses the moisture level (in soils and composts), total and active bacteria, total and active fungi, presence of aerobic protozoa; we can also test for nematodes (identified to Genus), E. coli, mycorrhizal colonization, and nitrogen cycling potential. see our testing order form for more details. After testing is completed, Earthfort provides a telephone report interpretation for those customers new to interpreting data. If requested, we are able to provide remediation consulting for those who want assistance on the practical application of soil amendments (fees may apply.)
Can You Identify These Micro-Organisms to Species?
No. We do not identify individual species of micro-organisms. We can test for colony forming units of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in soils, composts, and liquid amendments such as compost tea. We also can identify nematodes to Genus, only.
How Do I Take A Sample?
Please see our Sampling Instructions for instructions on sampling soil or solid (such as compost) and liquid (such as compost tea) amendments.
Call our office 541-257-2612 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to request an official USDA PPQ Form 599 customs permit for sample shipping purposes prior to taking samples. Failing to follow USDA requirements for packaging and shipping of samples can result in delays in samples arriving at our lab and substantial fines up to $300,000 US dollars.
What Is The Best Way to Package Soil, Compost or Liquid Amendments Such As Compost Tea For Shipping?
For our instructions page on packaging soil or compost for shipment within the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii click here.
For our instructions page on packaging liquid (such as compost tea) amendments for shipment within the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii Click here
For instructions on packaging soils, composts and liquid amendments for shipment from outside the United States, Click here You MUST request an official USDA PPQ Form 599 customs permit from Earthfort for your package before you ship your samples to us, and pay for shipping from your location to the USDA in San Francisco, California as well as shipping from San Francisco, California to our lab in Corvallis, Oregon. Please call our office 541-257-2612 or email us at email@example.com for more information. Failing to follow USDA requirements for packaging and shipping of samples can result in delays in samples arriving at our lab and substantial fines up to $300,000 US dollars. Please call our office at 541-257-2612 if you have any questions about shipping samples to us internationally.
How Do I Submit A Sample To The Earthfort Laboratory?
After taking your soil or amendment sample, (see instructions above) fill out our Testing Order Form. Plan to ship the samples the same day you gathered them, if possible. If you must store samples until the next day, keep them refrigerated. Do not freeze your samples, as the freezing and thawing will kill many of the microbes.
Ship your soil and compost samples so they will arrive within 3-4 days at our lab. Compost teas should be shipped by next day air to our location. Send sample to: Earthfort 635 SW Western Blvd Corvallis, OR 97333.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS: Complete our foreign testing order form. Also, you MUST request an official USDA PPQ Form 599 customs permit from Earthfort for your package before you ship your samples to us, and pay for shipping from your location to the USDA in San Francisco, California as well as shipping from San Francisco, California to our lab in Corvallis, Oregon. Please call our office 541-257-2612 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Failing to follow USDA requirements for packaging and shipping of samples can result in delays in samples arriving at our lab and fines up to $300,000 US dollars. Please call our office at 541-257-2612 if you have any question.
Does It Matter What Time Of Year The Soil Sample Is Submitted?
There are two times you do not want to pull a soil sample for biological testing: when the ground is frozen or water logged. Other than that, anytime will provide a good profile of the soil relative to the target crop.
What Is Soil Biology?
Soil microbiology is the microscopic community of organisms that play a vital role in determining productive soil characteristics and a healthy habitat for plant growth and long term establishment. The most productive soil systems have balanced populations of flourishing organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. Bacteria and fungi break down and consume the organic matter and mineral content of soils, creating a storehouse of nutrients that are released slowly over time. Predatory organisms, such as protozoa and nematodes, consume the bacteria and fungi, releasing nutrients into the root zone of your plants naturally. They consume and/or out compete disease-causing organisms along the way, helping manage pathogenic populations and reduce monetary loss from infections.
What Are The Benefits Of Healthy Soil?
~ Reduced water usage
~ Improved nutrient cycling
~ Increased drought resistance
~ Deeper root growth
~ Improved soil structure (less compaction)
~ Increased disease resistance
What Is Plant Succession?
What Type Of Soil Environment Do Plants Need?
Broccoli/Cabbage (Strongly bacterial)
Row Crops/Tomatoes/Grasses (Slightly bacterial)
Berries* (Equal bacteria and fungi)
Broadleaf Trees/Shrubs/Vines (2-10 times more fungal) [Note: Grapevines, blueberries (and other Ericaceous berries and shrubs), kiwi, and snowbrush are considered to be in the shrub/vine category due to their fungal needs.] Conifers (100+ more fungal than bacterial)
What Is Compost?
Compost is decayed organic material
Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. Ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates through the process of nitrification.
Do I Have Enough Mycorrhizal Spores?
Mycorrhizal Inoculum - Endo, Ecto, or Ericoid?
Ready to Bring Your Soil to Life?
Contact A Soil Expert
Talk One On One with a Soil Expert
Spend time with Earthfort’s Director discussing your operation and its growth. Explore any site-specific or testing questions and discuss opportunities for development and improvement.
$200.00 hr billed in 15 minute time increments
Please call or send an email to schedule a phone consultation with our office.
Earthfort Speaks at Your Event
Good soil is the foundation on which your plants grow. This package allows you to hear directly from a soil expert! The Earthfort Director will give a lecture at your event discussing soil biology as it relates to agricultural, horticultural, landscaping and/or soil remediation topics.
Just some of the topics we can bring to you include:
- Introduction to Soil Basics
- Practical Soil Microbiology
- Ecological Succession
- Compost Production
- Compost Tea and Alternatives
- Biologically-Based Pest Management
- Understanding your Soil Biology Report
Previous lectures have spanned from practical soil biology and understanding biological testing services to integrating your current cultivation practices with biological practices.
Please call or send an email to schedule a speaking engagement with our office.
Bring In An Expert For An Expert Opinion
Soil biology challenges permeate every aspect of agriculture and horticulture. Bring an expert to your location so we can better understand your operation and goals as a business. Earthfort’s Director will answer any site-specific questions so your team can explore opportunities to benefit your company and your soil.
Earthfort offers our clients an onsite consultation to discuss a wide range of topics including: soil biology challenges across diverse fields and crops; identifying potential local composting components; trouble shooting compost tea equipment; improving timing of applications of compost, teas, and biological products; and so much more.
Please call or send an email to schedule this consultation visit with our office.
If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage It
This two day Biologically-Based Soil Management Workshop is a cost effective option designed for businesses, schools and other organizations who would like to train groups of 10 people or more. An Earthfort instructor will come to your location and provide an in-depth overview of soil biology, testing, and remediation. Your team will learn about the interrelationships between soil biology and soil nutrient chemistry, so you can better manage the soil system, improving your crops and soil remediation practices.
In this workshop, you will explore the physical, chemical, and biological processes of the soil. Your own soil’s history, chemistry and biological makeup has unique management implications. We’ll give you the tools that work with your system rather than against it, saving you time and money. You are encouraged to send in a soil sample to our laboratory to have the soil biology and chemistry tested prior to the workshop so we can take a more in-depth look at a soil biology report. This will help us customize the lecture to better reach your goals and needs. Click here for an example of topics we offer you!
(Click here for sampling instructions and testing forms.)
Please call or send an email to schedule this training visit with our office.