A Comprehensive Soil Health Survey and Assessment in Yuma
Funding Quarter of Year
Assessing soil health status is essential for modern agricultural production systems. As soil gets exhausted due to intensive farming, measures should be taken to sustain soil health and productivity. Under extreme climates, soil processes behave differently that makes it ‘tricky’ to evaluate soil health, therefore, effective soil health assessment is necessary to design plans that improve and maintain soil health. Our study is designed to survey soils in the Yuma region, a low desert ecosystem in southwestern United States, to measure soil health indicators, documenting current soil health status. We will collect soils twice before cash crop season in the winter, preferably in the summer and in the fall season, from 20 farm sites; ‘historically’ good and bad sites will be included in this survey. A comprehensive suite of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties will be measured to evaluate soil health; standardized protocols will be used, and performance of different soil health indicators will be recorded. All soil health information will be shared with the participating growers and will be used for soil health outreach and education. Additionally, this project will serve as a ‘pilot study’ to draft future research proposals to assess soil health and devise better soil health management practices in Yuma. Through this project, the research team will build strong communication with the Yuma growers and YCEDA to identify major soil health needs in the region and will participate in the mission to improve soil health and productivity through sustainable intensification.