Woodleaf Farm Soil Management System Table 2

Organic Agriculture May 02, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

This article is part of the Woodleaf Farm Organic Systems Description.

Table 2. Soil Health Trends, Targets and Amendments

Soil health indicator Trend Woodleaf target Current status/Trends (1982–2014) Amendments/Fertilizers
Soil organic Matter (SOM)      4–10% Increased from an average of 2.2% to 5.1% (Fig. 1).

Yard waste compost is applied two to four times annually at 2 tons/acre (4–8 tons/year on peaches, 0–4 tons/year on apples and pears). Residues derived from the living mulch and chipped branches are also applied annually. 
Cation exchange capacity (CEC)       9–16 meq/100g  Increased from an average of 9.5 to 11.7 meq/100g (Fig. 2).  Associated with increases in SOM.
Nitrogen (N)

1982–2012: annual tree growth of 10–16"

 

2013–2015: annual tree growth of 10–20"

Average total Kjeldahl N is high (3,204 ppm) (Fig. 4). Nitrate-N has decreased from an average of 23 to 9 ppm (Fig. 3). Woodleaf adds N by applying yard waste compost and mowed residues from the living mulch.
Potassium          No ppm target;
4–7% of cation base saturation
 
Increased from an average of 127 to 173 ppm (Fig. 16) Current percent of cation balance is 5% (Fig. 19).
 
In the past, Woodleaf has applied sulfate of potash (50% K, 18% S).
Potassium is also applied in the foliar mineral mix. Residues derived from the living mulch and chipped branches and yard waste compost are also applied annually.
Phosphorus (P)—P1 weak Bray           25 ppm minimum; 40–80 ppm ideal Increased from an average of 46 to 95 ppm (Fig. 17).
Phosphorus is added in residues derived from yard waste compost and mowed living mulch.
Calcium           No soil ppm target; 68–70% of cation base saturation  Increased from an average of 1,202 to 1,524 ppm (Fig. 13). ] Current percent of cation balance is 67% (Fig. 14). Gypsum (22% Ca, 16% S) is applied annually. In the past, limestone (33% Ca) was used. Ca is also applied in the foliar mineral mix. Compost and living mulch also provides some Ca. 
Magnesium (Mg)           No soil ppm target; 15% of cation base saturation Increased from an average of 229 to 240 ppm (Fig. 18).  Current percent of cation balance is 18% (Fig. 15). Mg is not added. Carl Rosato's goal is to reduce the Mg percent of cation balance from 18% to 15%. Compost supplies some Mg. 
Sulfur (S)          20 ppm minimum; 30 ppm ideal  Decreased from an average of 17 to 14 ppm with great year-to-year variability (Fig. 8). In the past, S (92%) was applied as a soil amendment. Currently, gypsum (22% Ca, 16% S) is applied annually. Manganese sulfate (23% S) was applied in 2014. S is also supplied by the foliar mineral mix and by lime sulfur applied for disease management (Disease Table 4).
Manganese (Mn)         15 ppm minimum;30 ppm ideal  Decreased from an average of 6 to 4.5 ppm (Fig. 9). Manganese sulfate (31% Mn) was applied in 2014. Mn is also applied in the foliar mineral mix, and some is supplied by compost.
Iron (Fe)        20 ppm minimum; above 40 ppm ideal. Decreased from an average of 60 to 44 ppm (Fig. 21).  Fe is applied in the foliar mineral mix, and some is supplied by compost. 
Boron (B)        0.8–2.0 ppm; 1.5 ppm ideal Decreased from an average of 0.9 to 0.4 ppm (Fig. 7). B is applied annually at 10 lb/acre and in the foliar mineral mix.
Zinc        4-10 ppm; 6-8 ppm ideal Increased from an average of 5.8 to 7.9 ppm (Fig. 5). Zn is not added. Some is supplied by compost.
Copper (Cu)        1.5–4.0 ppm Increased from an average of 2 to 5.2 ppm (Fig. 6).

Cu is not added. Foliar copper-based pesticides were applied regularly on peaches for disease management in the 1990s (Disease Table 4).
pH        6.3–6.8 Decreased from an average of 6.7 to 6.4 (Fig. 20).  Limestone (33% Ca) was applied in the past.

Supporting data is from regular soil analysis at 0-12 inch depth.

This table is part of the Woodleaf Farm Organic Systems Description.

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This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.