Submitted to: Plant and Soil Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Soil quality has received substantial worldwide attention during the past decade, but is the concept ready for routine implementation by soil- testing laboratories? We examine this question by briefly reviewing the concept, examining its primary uses, and discussing the types of measurements being suggested for its evaluation. Outreach and participatory research programs have demonstrated a strong interest in the concept among progressive and innovative farmers and land managers. Data interpretation remains a challenge, although recent advances in a web-based soil quality assessment tool are helping to alleviate this need. We conclude that although soil quality assessment may not be ready for "off the shelf" marketing, there are many opportunities for partnerships among research scientists, NRCS and Extension personnel, crop consultants, and farmers that will result in an expanded service that should be very marketable for soil-test laboratories throughout the world.