Haney Soil Health Test changes with season, not subsurface drainage

Kyle Sherbine, Aaron Frankl, Fabian Fernandez, Lindsay Pease, Anna M. Cates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Haney Soil Health Test (HSHT) is used to quantify soil health using soil biological activity and water-extractable C and N. However, suitability of the HSHT to measure soil health in subsurface drained fields remains unknown. Our goals were to use the HSHT in Minnesota cropand to (a) test the effect of recent tile drainage installation, (b) evaluate seasonal variability, and (c) calculate a potential N fertilizer credit. Three soil biological indices used in the HSHT were measured seasonally across 2 yr and used to calculate a soil health score and N credit. All metrics were unaffected by subsurface drainage, but all varied seasonally (greatest in spring) and annually (greater in 2020 than in 2021). Soil biological indicators did not change abruptly following subsurface drainage but may change gradually, and this needs to be tested further. Significant seasonal variability may pose challenges in tracking soil health over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20098
JournalAgricultural and Environmental Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council, and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, State project 1023298. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the associate editor for their invaluable feedback, contributions, and time. We are grateful to Heidi Reitmeier, Peyton Loss, Cameron Fleisher, and Ethan Erdman for field and laboratory assistance and to Jacques Finlay for allowing us to use laboratory instrumentation for analyzing the WEOC/N.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Agricultural & Environmental Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.


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