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What is a Soil Food Web assessment, and why might I want one?

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

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As a Soil Food Web certified testing lab, we take samples of soil, compost or liquid amendments and look at them under the microscope to count the biology.

Specifically, we're looking for:

testate amoebae, fungi, and bacteria
Compost Sample at 400x total magnification
  • Bacteria

  • Actinobacteria

  • Fungi (beneficial and disease causing)

  • Protozoa (aerobic and anaerobic)

    • Flagellates

    • Amoebae

  • Nematodes

    • bacterial-feeders

    • fungal-feeders

    • root-feeders

    • Predatory

Your first assessment will give you a baseline for the biological populations in your media (soil, compost, etc.). Subsequent testing of the same areas will tell you whether your management practices are benefiting or harming the biology in your soil.

Nematodes can eat bacteria, fungi, roots, or other nematodes
Nematode at 400X

With a healthy soil food web, practitioners of these techniques are seeing the following benefits:

  • Increased yield

  • Protection from pests and diseases

  • Reduced irrigation requirements

  • No need for fertilizers

  • Weed suppression

  • Protection against soil erosion

  • Carbon sequestration

  • and more...

Working with one of our consultants, you can make a plan to increase the biology (in numbers and diversity) using biologically complete composts and extracts. These amendments must meet a standard for high quantity and diversity of active organisms. We'll teach you how to brew these for yourself, or sell you some if needed. You won't need a lot, as a little goes a long way. Compost teas and extracts can be applied as a soil drench, or as a foliar spray. Trials are showing excellent results with seed inoculation as well.

Are you already using amendments, but don't know if they are working? Let's find out! We can look at the teas and extracts you are using now, or we can monitor the biology in your soil over a period of time. To take the next step, fill out our contact form here.

If you want to learn more out these techniques, check out the Soil Food Web School. They have courses you can take to learn the science behind these techniques, or you can get certified to be a Lab Technician, or a Consultant.

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