Other I know who have focussed on expanding their capabilities to
specifically include organic materials include:
A & L Eastern Agricultural Laboratories
7621 Whitepine Road, Richmond, VA 232347-2296 tel: 804-743-9401
BioCheck Loabs, 1015 Garden Lake Parkeway, Toledo, OH tel: 419-385-9585
Bio Cycle Magazine also shows other in their advertisements.
Part of the answer to your very good questions is that often there is no
single lab that will provide (without subcontracted work) all of the
analyses that would be beneficial to practioners of
sustainable/alternative farming. Indeed, some of the important testable
parameters, especially the biological ones, have yet to be agreed upon in
the research community and standardized to the point of being typically
available to non-research, commercial testing services. This is
currently a big impediment for companies to offer such tests.
Soil Microbial Systems Lab
BARC, Bldg. 318, Rm 108
Beltsville, MD. 20705-2350
On Thu, 18 Jul 1996, Francois Quesnel wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I am a graduate student in soil biology and I have a few
> questions for those of you who are involved in crop consulting in the
> context of sustainable or organic farming.
> It seems to me that the commercial soil testing procedures have
> not evolved past conventional agriculture. What I mean is that even
> though the role of soil biology in crop production is now being
> recognized, laboratories still only test for P, K, Ca, Mg etc. (at
> least around here).
> So my questions are:
> Do organic or sustainable farmers and consultants feel the need
> for other types of analysis? If yes, what kind?
> Are there any commercial labs out there that deal with those
> alternative types of analysis?
> I do realize that part of what it means to farm sustainably is
> to deal with the complexity of soil-plant relationships and that
> simple solutions like looking up a soil test result in a table to
> decide how much phosphorus to apply are hardly applicable here.
> It seems to me that because of the complexity of the system and
> the lack of analytical tools to better understand it, a lot of the
> decision making process relies on the farmer's or consultant's own
> This is where I believe there might be room for innovation.
> What do you think?
> Best regards
> Francois Quesnel
> Department of Land Resource Science
> University of Guelph
> Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1
> Vox: (519) 824-4120 x8593
> Fax: (519) 824-5730
> Email: email@example.com