Southern Extension and Research Activity Information Exchange Group 6 (SERA-IEG-6)
Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Annual Meeting

University of Kentucky
College of Agriculture
Lexington, Kentucky

June 7-9, 1998

Participants - See Membership

Monday, June 8, 1998
8:00 a.m.

The meeting was called to order by the Chair of SERA-IEG-6, John Kovar.

Agenda, Action Items, and Summary of Discussions

Welcome - Bill Thom introduced the keynote speakers.

Dr. Walter Walla, Associate Dean and Director of the Extension Service, welcomed the group to Kentucky. The key issues he addressed were nutrient and waste management. There will be new funds for these issues.

Dr. James Boling, Associate Dean for Research, UK College of Agriculture, welcomed the group on behalf of the experiment station. He spoke of the importance of integrating and providing solutions with soil, plant, water, and waste analysis.

Dr. Wilbur Frye, Director, Division of Regulatory Services, spoke of the services provided by the regulatory division and commented on the need to be mindful of animal waste management, nutrient management, and precision agriculture.

Comments by Administrative Advisors

Dr. George Kriz, Administrative Advisor, NCSU, discussed the importance of the research and extension group and maintaining the standards for soil and plant analysis. Consider the topic of good lab practices for next year’s meeting.

Dr. Wayne Jordan, Extension Administrative Advisor, Univ. of GA, introduced concerns with animal waste handling and safety. In addition, he spoke of the validity and uniformity of recommendations across states. A report was distributed regarding soil test recommendations - client/industry concerns which included SERA-IEG objectives and a nine-state survey. What is the role of SERA-IEG-6 in addressing some of these issues? He then introduced Rao Mylavarapu who gave a presentation regarding nutrient management and client input. Rao spoke of developing recommendations for the client. An emphasis should be placed on site specific in-state recommendations. Continuous field validations of recommendations are important.

Publication Status Reports

John Kovar reported the regional cotton fertility publications need continued work. During the SERA-IEG-6 1997 meeting a list of potential chapters for Coastal Plain and Delta Soils was generated. Appropriate authors were contacted regarding the chapters. These publications should be a high priority for the next meeting.

"Bulletin 190, Procedures Used by State Soil Testing Laboratories in the Southern Region of the United States" is on a web page. There have been computer problems with accessing this. The URL is http://www.imok.ufl.edu.

Ray Campbell reported that the plant analysis bulletin is essentially ready for review. Additional information and crops will be added, then the draft will be submitted to George Kriz and Wayne Jordan for approval. Plans are to publish the bulletin electronically. Other crops can be added as needed. The target date for submitting the bulletin to the editorial committee is July 1, 1998. The target date for publication is August 1, 1998.

Charlie Mitchell moved that the extension and experiment station directors provide coordination for publications and other information coming from SERA groups that may involve multiple work groups such as SERA-IEG-6, for example the publication "Soil Testing for Phosphorus, Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin 389", J. Thomas Sims, May 1, 1998, and that extension and experiment station directors invite official representatives from SERA-6 and SERA-17 to meet with each of the groups. The motion was seconded by Gerald Kidder and passed by the group.

Hugh Savoy reported the "Nitrogen Testing Fact Sheet" was available for review. He asked each state to review it and submit changes by mid-August. The target date for putting the fact sheet on the web is September 1, 1998.

Charlie Mitchell proposed the two soil testing procedure manuals be combined. Steve Donohue, Frank Sikora, and John Kovar volunteered to work on this.

Committee Reports / Updates

John Kovar reported the North American Proficiency Testing (NAPT) Program is meeting presently at Madison, Wisconsin. Tony Provin is the SERA-6 representative. (Tony's report was provided at a later date, which will follow as an attachment.)

Manure Testing Methods Manual - Nancy Wolf reported the committee was formed in 1996. The chapters will include sampling, lab methods, reporting results, and reference values. Certain sections have been completed. Work is still in progress. The Department of Agriculture at Minnesota will be offering a manure testing laboratory in-state certification and proficiency testing program beginning July 1, 1998. The analyses for in-state certification will include dry matter, total nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Requests to participate in the proficiency program can by made by e-mailing jan.jarman@state.mn.us. Nancy requested John Peters at the University of Wisconsin be contacted regarding suggestions for the manure testing methods manual.

Kathy Moore gave a report regarding the health and safety concerns of handling animal waste in the lab. A handout was distributed entitled "Manure Analysis - Understanding and Managing the Risk". The URL address http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/main/lcdc/web/bmb/msds/index.html was given for information regarding the risks.

Nutrient Management in Waste-Amended Soils

Charlie Mitchell spoke about the state guidelines for phosphorus in Alabama. Results were given for a regional survey with plans to regulate phosphorus. The environmentally critical threshold level in Alabama soils was 200 lb./A using Mehlich I, now the level is 250 lb./A which corresponds to an extremely high rating. Extremely high has been defined as greater than 4 times what is considered optimum. At this level there may be a potential for phosphorus runoff and environmental concerns.

Wayne Sabbe made a motion that SERA-IEG-6 support research to defend the level of 150 mg/kg of Mehlich I extractable phosphorus in mineral soils as an environmental threshold level for protecting surface waters of the South. After some discussion, Wayne moved to table the motion. A committee including Gary Lessman, Gordon Miner, Wayne Sabbe, and Gerald Kidder was formed to discuss the issue and bring a resolution back to the meeting Tuesday.

Larry Oldham reported that Tyson Foods in Mississippi has amended its contract to include nutrient management planning. They want training on nutrient management planning for their producers. There are three basic steps to nutrient management planning; 1) know what you have, 2) know what you need, and 3) manage wisely.

Following lunch, the group toured Three Chimneys Horse Farm, then traveled to the UK Animal Science Research Center.

Dr. Maurice Horton, USDA/CSREES, spoke to the group about happenings at the Federal level. Two new positions have been advertised in the natural resources and environment section. Presently, they are searching for avenues for researchers in agriculture. A senate bill was passed to include agriculture research, food stamps, and crop insurance. The bill contains $600 million for agriculture to be allocated over the next 5 years. About $30 million will go to the Fund for Rural America.

Nutrient Management in Waste-Amended Soils (cont.)

Bill Thom gave a presentation regarding nutrient management at the UK Animal Science Farm. The farm comprises 1489 acres at $12.5 million. A diagram of the soil topography was shown. A land use proposal was presented which included the swine, beef, sheep, dairy, poultry, and cropland units. A detail of the Animal Research Center was presented. Nutrient management has developed the criteria for the number of research animals permitted. The limiting factor will be determined basically by nitrogen levels.

On behalf of Halin Zhang, John Kovar distributed the "Oklahoma Registered Poultry Feeding Operations Act - Senate Bill 1170" which becomes effective July 1, 1998, and "Amendments to the Oklahoma Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Act - Senate Bill 1175" which becomes effective August 1, 1998.

Cliff Snyder distributed a handout regarding a nutrient management planning workshop in Danville, Illinois, August 17-18, 1998.

Final Business

John Kovar distributed a draft of the group’s mission statement: The Southern Extension and Research Activities Information Exchange Group on Soil and Plant Analysis (SERA-IEG-6) will develop, modify, and document reference laboratory procedures, "regionalize" soil test calibration/correlation and interpretation efforts among states that share similar soils and climate, and encourage both analytical proficiency and adequate quality control/quality assurance for nutrient analysis labs in the southern Region of the United States through annual meetings, committee involvement, task force development, publication on the World Wide Web, and personal communication among representatives and other interested parties. E-mail comments to John within two weeks.

John plans to develop a Listserve for the participants of this group to provide better communication between members.

State Reports

Georgia - Wayne Jordan distributed a handout summarizing the total samples analyzed in 1997 - 103,251 soil, plant, and water samples, 4,786 pesticide and hazardous waste samples, 2,737 feed and environmental water samples. A third TJA 61E ICP was purchased. Soil report distribution has shifted to electronic transmission to the counties through the Internet. New submission forms for several areas have been developed. A fact sheet has been developed explaining different aspects of the report. There is a proposal for a new position in a public service track to conduct soil test calibration research.

North Carolina - Ray Tucker reported analyzing 280,000 soil samples last year - the large increase due to GPS and lab certification. The certification program is requesting values in ppb for certain elements. Ray Campbell reported analyzing 15,000 plant 10,000 waste, and 4000 water samples. New segmented flow analytical equipment has been installed. The lab is certified through the NC Division of Water Quality. A quality control document has been developed.

Dinner was served by the UK Animal Science Research Center and sponsored by the UK Department of Agronomy.

Tuesday, June 9, 1998

8:00 a.m.

The group toured the UK Soil Testing Lab.

Report from the NCR-13 Representative

Manjula Nathan, University of Missouri, reported on the availability of the book "Recommended Chemical Soil Test Procedures for the North Central Region". A web page is being developed. There will be a workshop regarding soil and plant analysis, November 9-10, 1998 in St. Louis, Missouri. Topics will include Precision Ag and lab methods, i.e., LOI. The QAQC committee is working on a joint publication. The NAPT group met in Minneapolis. A compost analysis manual is being prepared. Other areas of interest are phosphorus level guidelines for manure management and the manure methods manual. The next meeting will be in West Port, Missouri.

Report from the Soil and Plant Analysis Council

Owen Plank reported the council headquarters is moving to Lincoln, Nebraska. The administration of the proficiency testing program will be handled through the ASA headquarters. Bob Miller will handle sample and results distribution. Bob Beck is moving to president. A vice president and 3 new board members must be elected. The new reference procedure manual for plant tissue analysis has been published. The "Soil Test Laboratory Registry" and "The Reference Handbook on Soils" are being updated and are due out the end of this year. The 6th International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis will be in Brisbane, Australia, March 22-26, 1999. The survey of activities publication "Soil, Plant, Animal Waste, and Water Analysis Status Report for the United States, 1988 - 1991" was presented.

State Reports (cont.)

Virginia - Steve Donohue reported using a 4 box shipping carton for soil samples. They will be switching to LOI by this summer. The modified Walkley Black will be offered for researchers on certain samples. Money for lab upgrades has been received. The budget is up 15% over the past years. Steve coordinated two workshops regarding Precision Ag. Virginia is in the process of hiring a nutrient management specialist. The sample load is down 5% from last year.

Alabama - Charlie Mitchell reported the number of samples has decreased to about 23,000 soil samples and about 10,000 research and diagnostic samples last year. The number of environmental samples has increased to about 1000 water, waste, and lime materials. 300 manure samples, 1000 feed samples, and 2000 plant samples (mostly research) were analyzed. The fees have been increased to $7.00 for soil samples, $25.00 for manure samples, and $10.00 for plant samples. Two new faculty members have been hired. They are searching for a new dean and director. In January, nutrient management planning training programs will be offered. In addition, certified animal waste vendor training programs will be offered.

South Carolina - The lab is updating its facilities for animal waste sample handling. 36,531 soil, 3314 plant, 2053 feed, 323 water, 344 waste, and 2827 other samples were analyzed in 1997. Rao Mylavarapu reported the research lab recently obtained a Spectro ICP. Rao’s research involves Ca deficiencies in collards. He is also preparing to do a B study on soybeans. P and K fertilizer validation trials are in progress.

Florida - James Bartos reported the department has been without a director for 18 months. Hopefully, someone will be selected by the end of the year. The price of research samples has been doubled. The extension prices have increased by 74%. Funding for 3 new instruments - automated ion analyzers - has been received. A second extractant may by introduced.

Mississippi - Keith Crouse reported that the lab analyzed about 30,000 soil samples last year. There was an increase in the number of tissue samples by 60% (mostly research).

Arkansas - Nancy Wolf reported the lab analyzed a total of 26,412 forage, plant, soil, manure, and prepared samples last year. There has been an increase in dry manure samples coming from Oklahoma. Bill Baker reported the lab analyzed 96,000 samples last year and attributed the increase to Precision Ag. A third ICP will be purchased. The data resides on the Internet.

Texas - John Pitt reported the lab analyzed about 27,000 soil samples, about 1000 plant, manure, and forage samples, and about 1000 water samples. They are considering using LOI. Different extractants are being evaluated.

Tennessee - Debbie Joines reported a decrease in the number of soil samples to 29,000. The number of feed samples has increased to 922. They are experiencing some computer problems. Some new instruments will be purchased this year.

Kentucky - Frank Sikora reported the lab analyzed a total of 51,407 samples in 1997. There was a 23% increase with agriculture samples and a 20% increase with research samples. There is no charge for research samples. The zinc recommendations have been lowered from 30 to 10-20 lb./A on soils with 150 lb./A P or less. A web page is being developed. They are looking to expand the services to include plant tissue analysis. The impact of animal waste regulations and nutrient plan requirements on the services are being assessed. Reporting CEC based on Mehlich III bases and SMP buffer pH is being considered. A computer program analyzing profitability of Precision Ag is being developed. Long-term P changes in Kentucky soils will be presented at the ASA meetings.

Louisiana - John Kovar reported the lab analyzed 8888 farmer soil samples, 4797 research soil samples, 7439 optional soil test samples, and 141 irrigation water samples in 1997. The lab started analyzing forest soil samples with an increased fee due to an additional analytical step. The plant and soil labs may be combined. The lab lost an analytical technician. The SMP buffer is being investigated. Conversion to Mehlich III is continuing.

Final Business (cont.)

The nominating committee nominated Ray Campbell to serve as secretary for the 1999-2000 term. A motion was made, seconded, and passed to close nominations. The group voted unanimously to elect Ray as the incoming secretary.

Wayne Sabbe reported on behalf of the committee (Gerald Kidder, Gary Lessman, Gordon Miner and Wayne Sabbe) regarding the tabled motion concerning the environmental threshold level of phosphorus. After examination of the bulletin, "Soil Testing for Phosphorus", Wayne moved that a joint meeting of representatives of SERA-17, SERA-6, NCR-13, and NEC-67 be held to discuss the issue and generate a resolution to the tabled motion. The motion was seconded and passed.

Closing Comments - The group thanked John Kovar for serving as Chair.

Next Meeting Information

Location and Date - Orlando, Florida, June 6 - 8, 1999.

Responsible Individuals - Bill Thom - Chair, Kathy Moore - Vice Chair, Ray Campbell - Secretary, Gerald Kidder and Jim Bartos.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

Minutes prepared and submitted by Kathy Moore