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

Earthfort Soil Health Icons Water Cycle

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. 

Earthfort Soil Health Icons Improved Nutrients

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. 

Earthfort Soil Health Icons Thriving Crops

Healthier Crops

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. 

Earthfort Soil Health Icons Thriving Farm

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. 

Get Started Here

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.

See Data Sharing Guidelines

1
Fill Out Form
2
Choose Your Package
3
Ship Soil Sample
4
Get Your Results

FAQs

Closed
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.

 

INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS:
Call our office 541-257-2612 (or email info@earthfort.com) 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?

DOMESTIC CLIENTS:

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

 

INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS:

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 info@earthfort.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 info@earthfort.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 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.

Closed
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?
Succession is the process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time. A plant community gradually or rapidly replacing another can result from developmental changes in the ecosystem itself; or from disturbances such as wind, fire, volcanic activity, insects and disease, or harvest. Different plants require different ratios of fungi and bacteria, based on their successional growth traits. The biological approach seeks to match crops with their ideal soil habitat and associated microbial communities. Some plants are naturally acclimated to fungally-dominated forest soils; others are acclimated to grasslands that are more bacterially-dominated. The biology in the soil can enhance or impede plant growth based on the symbiotic or antagonistic relationships between microbes and plants. Conditioning the soil’s biology to compliment a specific crop will increase nutrient uptake, and can give the desired crop an edge over weeds they try to compete against.

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?
The quickest and best way to know if you have enough spores is to plant then take a sample of the roots and have it tested for mycorrhizal colonization. No matter how many spores you add, they must colonize roots to be successful. Low to no colonization rates can occur if spores are not within close range of roots when they germinate. If they are not in close proximity to roots, they will die. If your soil is in good health, the mycorrhizal colonization process happens naturally. If you get the fungal and bacteria counts in balance and have good numbers of protozoa, mycorrhizal colonization will take place without any product inputs.
Mycorrhizal Inoculum - Endo, Ecto, or Ericoid?
For row crops, vegetables, grass, most berries, shrubs and deciduous trees, vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (VAM) are the fungi of choice, while conifers and some late-successional deciduous trees require ectomycorrhizal fungi. Ericaceous plants, such as blueberries and rhododendrons, need Ericoid mycorrhizae. Earthfort tests for all three forms of mycorrhizal colonization.
Ready to Bring Your Soil to Life?

Contact A Soil Expert

Earthfort Chandra Wyatt

Chandra Wyatt

Head of Operations

Earthfort Matthew Slaughter

Matthew Slaughter

President and Laboratory DIrector

Earthfort Cathy Brenizer

Cathy Brenizer

Production and Shipping Manager


Closed
Phone Consultation

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.

541.257.2612
info@earthfort.com

Onsite Speaker

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.

541.257.2612
info@earthfort.com

Onsite Consultation

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.

541.257.2612
info@earthfort.com

Onsite Workshop

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.

541.257.2612
info@earthfort.com

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop