Comparing biological and conventional chemical soil tests in long-term tillage, rotation, N rate field study

Christina M. Bavougian, Charles A. Shapiro, Zachary P. Stewart, Kent M. Eskridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Haney Soil Health Tool is a suite of tests integrating chemical and biological factors to provide a sophisticated analysis of soil nutrient availability. This research was conducted to determine if Haney tests (including H3A and water extracts, Solvita 24-h CO2 evolution, and Soil Health Calculation [SHC]) can add value to conventional chemical soil testing methods and increase knowledge of the effects of tillage systems, crop rotation, and N rate on soil health and corn grain yield. We studied rainfed continuous corn (Zea mays L.) and corn following soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] under three tillage systems and three N rates in a long-term field experiment in northeast Nebraska. The H3A ammonium, H3A inorganic N, and water-extractable total N tests detected more differences (significant F tests for main effects and interactions involving all treatments) than conventional NO3–N analysis (which detected the interaction of rotation × N rate). Water-extractable organic C detected more differences than LOI. There was a three-way interaction of tillage × rotation × N rate for Solvita and SHC; high N and intensive tillage mostly corresponded to low Solvita and SHC values. We did not expect the treatments to affect P or K directly, but the tillage × rotation interaction was significant for Mehlich III P, tillage for H3A organic P, and N rate for H3A inorganic and total P. Correlation analysis confirmed linear relationships between many Haney and conventional soil tests, and we concluded via sensitivity ratio calculations that the tests offered similar precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 18 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing biological and conventional chemical soil tests in long-term tillage, rotation, N rate field study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this