The quality of soils is paramount, primarily for human health risk reasons, but also for the potential growth of plants. Soil quality integrates the physical, chemical, and biological components of soil and their interactions. There are two fundamental ways to assess soil quality:
The University of the West Indies – Agro-Environmental Services (UWI-AES) is therefore very excited about offering the SQT package, which was designed to capture the holistic nature of soil quality or health, by measuring key parameters.
The SQT is a basic package of a minimum data set of soil properties, or indicators, selected based on their ability to indicate the capacity of the soil to function for a specific land use, climate, and soil type.
The package includes an SQT Report with the test values for the soil quality indicators (pH, EC, LR, OC, AP, PSD & WSA), their ratings and the soil quality rating (SQR), in addition to general recommendations you can implement that are guided by the results of the individual tests conducted. This may include testing the irrigation water being used (see water quality testing ).
The soil quality rating (SQR) is a qualitative assessment of the soil quality at a given site and enables comparisons between conditions at plot, field or watershed level under different land uses and management practices. This is a simple screening tool to give the general trend or direction of soil quality--whether current management systems are maintaining, enhancing, or degrading the soil.
The SQR range goes from 0 – 10, with 10 being the highest quality, and represents the average rating for all the tests.
Important: Regardless of the type of soil – be it a clay, a sand or a loam – your soil can have the highest SQR of 10, which should be the ultimate goal for your soil. This testing service can get you on track to ensure that your specific and unique soil can maintain or attain the highest SQR.
By making use of the two ways of assessing soil quality, the SQT can be used to:
Therefore, instead of hoping that your soils are at the highest quality needed to guarantee the best yields and profitability, remove the guesswork and let us help you accurately assess the quality of your soils and make more-informed decisions by the tests in the SQT package.