Collect soil with sharpshooter or probe. © Matteson

The Soil Quality Project – an assessment program

Initiated in 2009 to guide agricultural management decisions, the Soil Quality Project (SQP) provides farmers with a package of in-field and laboratory physical, biological and chemical soil assessments.

Soil Assessment

We collaborate with Oregon State University’s Central Analytical Laboratory to offer the Soil Quality Project Assessment package. Tests include:

  • Texture
  • Wet Aggregate Stability
  • Surface and Subsurface Hardness
  • Organic Matter
  • Active Carbon
  • Potentially Mineralizable Nitrogen
  • pH
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
The perfect slice. © Matteson
Ten shovel slices make one SQP sample.

Sample Collection and Submission

Ideal sample collection occurs during spring when the soil’s moisture is near field capacity.  In Oregon, the sampling window will vary annually but is roughly between February 15th and June 15th.  For more information read SQP Sample Collection and Handling Instructions.

Each sample must include a completed Sample Submission Form. Provide the optional compaction and geolocation information if penetrometer and GPS are available during your sample collection.

SQP Report

Based on the Cornell University Soil Health Program, this report includes color-coded results to help the producer focus soil improvement where needed.  Soil Quality color codes are: green = good; yellow = fair; red = poor.  Poor results generate constraints that relate to crop production. A springboard to discussions on soil function, this report can encourage producers to adopt conservation practices that build soil health, lower production costs and protect the environment.

An example report will be posted soon.

SQP Workshops

  • March 2010 – report
  • August 2010 – report

ODA Fertilizer Research Grant

  • Lysimeter study
  • SQP assessments
  • Nutrient Tracking Tool
  • Workshops
    • Soil Health, Cover Crops and Precision Agriculture – held May 2, 2013 NRCS Plant Materials Center
    • Irrigation workshop – slated for winter 2014
    • Field Day – slated for winter 2015

SQP Partners