' 2002

Mid-Atlantic Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Workgroup
Richmond, VA
February 20-21, 2002 


Wednesday, February 20, 2002 

8:30 a.m. 

The meeting was called to order by the Chairman, Doug Beegle, Dept of Agronomy, Penn State University.  After introductions, Mr. Phil Howard proceeded with an update of Southern States Activities.  He discussed struggles with money and ways to provide information with nutrient management plans.  A marketing group has been set up. 

Mark Flock, Brookside Lab, Inc., presented the manure sample exchange results.  Two samples were mailed to each lab; layer chicken and liquid dairy lagoon.  Results showed a very good correlation between labs on most analyses except soluble phosphorus.  Availability coefficients, available nutrients, and soil recommendations were also discussed.  It was decided to conduct another exchange next year and focus on soluble phosphorus using the standard method.  Also include moisture, total N, and NH4-N.   

Ann Wolf, Agricultural Analytical Services Lab, Penn State University, provided an update on the manure manual.   The final draft has been completed and is going to an editor at The University of Wisconsin.  When complete the goal will be to make the document web accessible – probably at the Wisconsin site – then look at what the demand is for hard copies. 

Ann Wolf and Karen Gartley (Dept. of Plant and soil Sciences, University of Delaware), discussed the virtual exchange results from exchangeable acidity and CEC calculations and lime, N, P, and K recommendations.   A review on methods for acidity and CEC calculations was also presented.  The average CEC values were comparable to the NAPT CEC averages.  Next year Karen will tritrate samples for actual acidity to compare values.  Steve Donohue, Virginia Tech, presented a ’98-’99 recommendation summary for corn from the states including recommendations for P, K, N, and Mg and a discussion regarding the differences. 

Lunch was provided by Southern States. 

Steve Donohue presented soil test summary information.  Factors affecting reliability of summaries were discussed; physiographic regions, crop categories, time of year, etc.  Uses of summaries were presented including evaluation of recommendations, and to encourage the proper use of fertilizer. 

Four state web reporting systems were reviewed; Ann Wolf, Penn State University; Steve Heckendorn, Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab; Kathy Moore, Agricultural Service Lab, Clemson; Bobby Walls and David Hardy, North Carolina Dept of Agriculture.     

Bob Miller, NAPT, presented NAPT program results.  The Mid-Atlantic labs showed generally good precision and repeatability except for M-3 sulfur.  M-3 P ICP vs. color results were reviewed.  The color P results differed from the ICP results.  A correlation between the Al and P values was presented.   As the Al increased, the difference between P color and ICP increased.  Also the difference increased with decreasing pH values.  Program changes include the addition of an environmental soil package. 

Karen Gartley presented information regarding the P saturation test.  This test describes how saturated a soil is with P.  The method uses an acid ammonium oxalate extraction – a difficult test to perform in the lab.   Talked about using M-3 P, Fe, Al as an easier method to estimate P saturation.  A DPS (degree of P saturation) interpretation was presented. 

New lab equipment updates – general discussion.  Bob Miller reported C-Tec coming out with an automated LOI and possibly an automated scooping robot.   The Elementar N unit and the LabFit pH system were discussed.   

The evening social was provided by Spectro Analytical Instrument, Inc. 

Thursday, February 21, 2002 

Steve Donohue and Karen Gartley discussed plans for the Soil-Plant Analyst’s Workshop.  Karen talked about sending a letter out in the spring or summer of next year, using a central location with a 1-1/2 day meeting.  Quality control and troubleshooting would be topics.  A lab tour and instrument sponsors would be included. 

Burning Issues and plans for next year – Kathy Moore was elected new chair.  The meeting date will be February 19 – 20, 2003.  The meeting will include a tour of A&L Wednesday afternoon.  Possible topics for next year include:
bulletA titration study for acidity – Karen Gartley. 
bulletA survey regarding how labs determine acidity and lime recommendations – Ann Wolf.
bulletA manure exchange with poultry, dairy, and swine slurry for soluble phosphorus using the standard procedure.  Also include moisture, total N and NH4-N with 3 values recorded for each parameter – Mark Flock.
bulletWeb reporting and equipment updates – all.
bulletNAPT report – Bob Miller.
bulletLab promotional material – Steve Donohue.
bulletPhosphorus soil test calibration – Steve Donohue.
bulletPrecision Ag – Carl Crozier, North Carolina State 

Reports –  

US Borax – Jim Woodruff is now part time with Borax – still involved with research.  Presented a B response with rice and soybeans. 

Delaware – Karen reported samples down a little but the staffing is constant. 

North Carolina – David Hardy presented the soil test summary.  Last year analyzed 320,000 samples – 10 weeks back log.  New notations with Cu and Zn regarding toxic levels.  Looking at new soil sample boxes.  Bobby Walls reported analyzing 11,000 plant samples last year.  Biggest crop – cotton.  About 300 – 400 samples per day. 

Agri Analysis, Inc. – Tim Hoerner reported replacing the ICP.  Analyzed 12,200 soil, 1,200 manure, 40,000 feeds and forages (use NIR – also some wet chemistry for minerals). 

Brookside Lab, Inc. – Mark Flock reported a new Elementar C/N analyzer.  Volume up last year.  About 150,000 soil samples per year.  Recently replaced manager for soil department.  Web system – sample tracking – tells when sample arrived and projected output date. 

South Carolina – Kathy Moore reported budget cuts.  Increased some fees for animal waste, feed and forage, and plant tissue.  Put recommendations on web site.  Put sample submission forms (Omni forms) on web site.  Total sample for 2001:  Soil – 35,000, Plant – 1900, Feed – 2000, Water – 500, Waste – 900, Other – 500.  Looking at new box. 

Maryland – Joe Buriel reported analyzing 26,000 soil samples last year (30% increase from previous year).  2,225 manure (70% increase) and 4,000 plant samples.  Purchased Milestone Ehos D microwave digestion unit for manure and plant samples.  Integrated Spectro Modula ICP.  Switching to M-3 and ICP for soils by end of summer 2002.  Switching to a buffer method for lime requirements. 

Virginia – Steve Heckendorn reported 45,000 soil samples analyzed for 2001.  Purchased an AS-3000 pH analyzer from LabFit.  Removed upper limits for elements reported.  Will probably buy an ICP in 2003.  Lost three workers in 2001.  Prepared a web site to train new agents.  See these web sites:  http://sudan.cses.vt.edu/html/STL.html  http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/agronomy/  http://www.ext.vt.edu/vce/specialty/diagnose.html 

A&L Eastern Agricultural Laboratory – Paul Chu reported business down the year before – good fall.  Planning to get CEM microwave for sludge, soil, and plant. 

NAPT – Bob Miller reported needing soil for environmental work. 

Pennsylvania – Ann Wolf reported ordering an Elementar for manures and biosolids.  Showed new soil test kits.  Hopefully going on line early March with lab data.  Compost program expanding.  Looking at soluble P protocol to develop standard method.  Doug Beegle reported fertility specialist retired – no replacement.  Working on P index. 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m. 

Minutes submitted by Kathy Moore