Assessing soil structure with two simple methods : Spade Test and mini 3D soil profile

The spade test and the mini 3D soil profile quickly assess soil structure


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In case of degraded soil structure (e.g. compaction) assessing soil quality is crucial to further adapt cropping practices in order to restore soil structure.
From a block of soil, it is possible to evaluate the soil structure on the first horizons and its porosity. An interpretation grid helps to decide on corrective actions if necessary. Both presented methods provide a quick soil structure diagnosis, compared with a “classical” soil profile pit.
The spade test and the mini 3D soil profile are diagnosis tools to assess soil structure. Both tools are a simplified version of the soil profile diagnosis method that quickly provides information to the user and helps for decision making (e.g. tillage operations). The spade test only requires a spade and a tarp whereas the midi soil profile requires a telescopic loader with a pallet fork. The video presents the two different tools and their related guideline document. The leaflets explain how to extract a soil block and interpret the observed soil structure. Both leaflets contain an interpretation table for scoring the soil structure based on the observation of the clods. The tools are applicable both for organic agriculture and conventional agriculture and the tests are applicable in all European pedo-climatic conditions.
Soil quality and fertility
French language

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