Soil Testing, Ag Consulting, and Other Resources

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These are some places you might go to get some serious soil testing done and advice on what to do to correct deficiencies organically. For more complete listings and guidance check out this page from ATTRA: http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/soil-lab.html

Brix Testing  
  Raising Brix levels  
  Refractometers - Brix Chart
 
Pike Method  
Agricultural Consultants
   Advancing Eco-Agriculture (Ohio & other states)     
   Agri Dynamics (Pennsylvania)
   AgriEnergy Resources (
Illinois ) 
   Agri-Horticultural Consulting  
   BeyondOrganix.com  (California) 
   Bionutrient Food Asso. (Massachusetts)
   Cropservices International, Inc. (CSI, Inc. - Michigan)  
   GoBeyondOrganic.com  (Florida) 
   HighBrixGardens.com  (aimed at gardeners - Minnesota) 
   International Ag Labs, Inc.  (Minnesota)
   Kinsey's Agricultural Services (Missouri)
   Lancaster Agriculture Products (Pennsylvania)  
   Midwestern Bio-Ag, Inc. (Michigan)  
      Introduction to Biological Farming
   Real Food Campaign (educational)  
  SoilMinerals.com (directions for planning appropriate soil amendments) 
   Sustainable Growth Texas  
   T&J Enterprises   (aimed at gardeners - Washington)  
   Gardening for Maximum Nutrition    
Fertilizer sources      
High Brix Success Stories   
Other resources - books * websites
Soil Life Resources   
   
Soil Foodweb, Inc.
Soil Testing  
     Soil sample techniques  
     AgriEnergy Resources  
     Cropservices International, Inc. (CSI, Inc.)
     International Ag Labs, Inc.  
        Morgan weak acid test 
     Kinsey's Agricultural Services
     Logan Labs  
     Spectrum Analytic  

Soil Testing Laboratories for the ecological farmer https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/soil_testing/ - It is very helpful to read the information on this page to understand what you are looking for in a soil test.  Many inexpensive soil tests do not give your enough information. Two labs that I have used are Logan Labs and AgLabs. Logan Labs standard soil test tells you the foundational minerals in your soil. AgLab tests tell you what is available to the plant. The two types of tests complement each other. More basic info here.

Logan Labs
184 W. Main Street
PO Box 1455
Russells Point Ohio 43348
Ph: 937-842-6100
Fax: 937-842-2433
www.loganlabs.com
Logan Labs is dedicated to the philosophies of Dr. William Albrecht and a true base saturation soil testing methodology.
    How to Read the Logan Labs Standard Soil Test  (text file)

See also International Ag Labs - Soil Testing

Spectrum Analytic http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/
      Interesting info on minerals under 'Support/Basics'

Instructions for taking a soil sample:

http://www.kinseyag.com/SoilAnal.htm#TakingSample

Go to www.loganlabs.com  and click on "Sampling"

Consultants for high quality agricultural production:

* Advancing Eco-Agriculture 
www.advancingecoag.com
 
4551 Parks West Road  Middlefield, Ohio  44062  (consultants in other areas also)  
440-632-1012 or Toll Free: 855-44-ECOAG
info@advancingecoag.com 
also quality natural and organic soil liquid amendments and fertilizers

* Agri Dynamics 
PO Box 267
Martins Creek, PA 18063
610-250-9280  
www.agri-dynamics.com 
info@agri-dynamics.com 

* AgriEnergy Resources
Princeton, Illinois
 
Ph: 815-872-1190
Goals: to develop Renewable Farming systems and assist with their implementation for healthier soils producing balanced, high-nutrient-density plants resulting in healthier livestock and people. 
    
Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock, Healthy People, an interview with Dean Craine 
     http://www.agrienergy.net/Libraries/2005_Newsletters/Healthy_Soils.sflb.ashx (PDF file)

One of their consultants recommended using very carefully prepared foliar sprays (based on leaf tissue analysis) on pasture to improve not only the pasture (as evidenced by the high brix levels of the grass), but also the health and nutrition of the animals and hence the flavor and healthfulness of the meat and dairy. He figures this is more economical than trying to fine tune the minerals in the soil (which the foliars gradually improve) or using mineral supplements for the animals (which are only minerals and not the valuable mineral containing nutritional compounds in the grass when it gets all the minerals it needs in the foliar spray). This concept would apply to other plants beside pasture grasses and their influence on human health.

* Agri-Horticultural Consulting http://www.agri-synergy.com/ - Steve  Diver specializes in organic and sustainable solutions to large- or small-scale farming operations, revegetation and erosion control projects, and landscapes. 512-944-8982, steved@ipa.ne

* Cropservices International, Inc. (CSI, Inc.)
1718 Madison SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507-2518
Ph: 616-246-7933
Fax 616-246-6039
1-800-260-7933
drdirt@cropservicesintl.com
www.cropservicesintl.com
Consultant: Dr. Phil Wheeler
We integrate Albrecht, Reams, Callahan, and radionics.

* International Ag Labs, Inc.. headed by Dan Skow
800 W. Lake Ave.,
PO Box 788
Fairmont, Minnesota 56031
Tel: (507) 235-6909
Fax: (507) 235-9155
Email: info@aglabs.com
www.aglabs.com  
Uses the Carey Reams BIOLOGICAL APPROACH TO AGRICULTURE
"The purpose of our Company is to make soil better as we grow quality crops
Laboratory testing (Morgan soil test), organic fertilizers and soil amendments."

     Advantages of Morgan (weak acid) Soil Test

*  www.HighBrixGardens.com - Jon Franks - specializing in home gardens. Part of International Ag Labs

     Blog from a community garden that uses IAL testing - some interesting reading.

* Midwestern Bio-Ag, Inc.
President, Gary Zimmer, author of "The Biological Farmer"
Bio-Ag of Michigan
Kinde, M
ichigan

1-888-825-9373

http://www.midwesternbioag.com/
A new consulting program to help you become a successful and profitable biological farmer - 
Intro to Biological Farming

* Lancaster Agriculture Products
Naturally Interested In Your Future
NATURAL & ORGANIC PRODUCTS
60 North Ronks Road,
Ronks, Pennsylvania 17572
http://www.lancasterag.com/ 
E-mail: sales@lancasterag.com
Fax: 717-687-9355
Phone: 717-687-9222

* Kinsey’s Agricultural Services Soil Fertility Consultants
President: Neal Kinsey, author of HANDS-ON AGRONOMY
www.kinseyag.com
We specialize in correcting soil fertility problems of farms, ranches, vineyards, orchards, gardens and lawns... The recommendations will utilize the proven principles of the Albrecht system of soil fertility management.

* The Real Food Campaign - realfoodcampaign.org - Started by  Dan Kittredge, is working to educate growers and consumers, and develop standards for nutrient dense foods. It has morphed into the 
Bionutrient Food Association
http://bionutrient.org/ 

* GoBeyondOrganic.com, Clearwater, Florida - another consultant claiming high quality, pest free techniques
http://www.gobeyondorganic.com/
 

* Beyond Organix (BYO)™  BeyondOrganix.com  X  
Beyond Organix is an association of grower-members who are committed to a food quality standard defined by high natural flavor and nutrient density...
We nurture a living soil because we have experienced that a healthy, biologically active soil produces plants and crops that consistently taste good, tests high in brix and suffers less from the stresses that bring on insects and cause disease.

   Beyond Organix
   P.O. Box 5594
   Fresno, CA 93755

   Dr. Arden Anderson

* Thomas Giannou at T&J  Enterpriseshttp://www.tandjenterprises.com 
Spokane, Washington

* Steve Diver
Sustainable Growth Texas

http://www.sustainablegrowthtexas.com
512-934-3187 

*****

Other fertilizer sources

*****

Soil Foodweb, Inc. - Website of Dr. Elaine Ingham, soil life guru, who is reluctant to acknowledge that soil remineralization may be needed.
"To grow healthy, productive plants
you need healthy, productive soil. It is the organisms in the soil that provide the food plants need, in the form they need, when they need it.
At Soil Foodweb, we measure the quality and quantity of these vital organisms and provide guidance in how to build your soil so your soil can build your plants."  See also their Soil Foodweb Approach

Brix Testing to reveal the best produce
The Brix meter is a small refractometer that is used to evaluate the quality of produce and the health of growing plants. It measures the content of solids in plant juices - sugars, minerals, etc. To produce fruits and vegetables with excellent Brix readings, the soil must be well balanced in minerals, organic matter, and microorganisms. Well-made compost teas and foliar sprays are often applied to the plant to provide needed nutrients. (See Sources (below) and Gardening for Maximum Nutrition) It is disappointing to measure the Brix readings on typical organic (or non-organic) produce, as they are rarely in the excellent range. There is much room for improvement in this expanding market!

What is Brix? From www.HighBrixGardens.com 

See also The Brix Movement - Growing For Quality

Human Health Starts in the Soil http://www.aglabs.com/newsletters/human_health.html 

Brix chart http://www.highbrixgardens.com/pdf/brix-chart.pdf   Refractometers

In depth look at the issue:
USING A REFRACTOMETER TO TEST THE QUALITY OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES by Rex Harrill

http://www.tandjenterprises.com/brix_equals_quality.htm

OR - also a raw foods site:
http://www.living-foods.com/articles/fruitquality.html

or http://www.crossroads.ws/brix/  Rex Harrill's Website

How to grow superb biological produce above & beyond ordinary chemical OR organic agriculture - Pike Method of soil testing & monitoring - using brix, electrical conductivity and pH.
http://crossroads.ws/CRActive/PikeAg.htm   

The Brix Movement - Growing For Quality  from Agriculture Solutions

New Life Soils http://www.newlifesoils.com/ (an Australian company) with much info - not available Jan. '07

BrixTalk Yahoo group - source of much info     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BrixTalk/  

Sources of products claiming to raise brix levels:

Measuring brix levels with a refractometer is a way of gauging nutritional quality of produce. This results from proper soil mineral balancing and active soil microorganisms. For guidance on how to do this see Gardening for Maximum Nutrition.

List of foliar fertilizers  and other fertilizer products

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, www.groworganic.com, which offers foliar products for raising brix and some helpful info. For example, see http://www.groworganic.com/item_F235_BrixMixPowder3Lb.html

Perfect Blend Organic Fertilizers - www.perfect-blend.com
For their story see The Symphony of Soil (below) and also The Path to High Brix
Unfortunately now yet available in NW Ohio, but here is a mail order source: http://www.organickingdom.com/gp003.html 

The Symphony of Soil, - Story of a new type of organic fertilizer (a special way of processing manures to maximize it's value) that claims to raise brix levels consistently
 http://www.perfect-blend.com/Symphony.pdf

JungleFlora (http://probiotichealthllc.com/jungleflora/products.html ), a Certified Organic Soil Conditioner and Plant Growth Accelerator. 
JungleFlora is a fermented blend of Composted Cow and Chicken Manures, Vermicast, Acadian kelp, Fish emulsion, Volcanic rock dust, Potassium Humate and Filtered Rain Water. 

International Ag Labs and their related site http://www.highbrixgardens.com/

ABC Organics http://abcorganics.com/ (in California)
Our mission is to support agricultural and horticultural activities with high quality organic based ingredients that support soil and plant health.
The first video on this webpage http://photonicwater.com/media.html is an interview with Joe Johnson of ABCOrganics on raising brix of strawberries with use of structured water.

Refractometer sourcesBe sure you get 0-32% Brix range, not 0-100%, which will be hard to read accurately  Brix Chart

Pike Agri-Lab Supplies - call them for a catalogue
866-745-3247 (toll-free)
 http://www.pikeagri.com/

Or inquire of Charlie Downer at chardowner@yahoo.com - National Industrial Supply. He has Chinese Westovers with quite good optics, a two year guarantee, and at rock bottom prices - find them on Ebay:

     National Industrial Supply
       2767 Maricopa Street
       Torrance, CA 90503
       Phone: 310.748.6858
       Fax: 310.833.7306

Another source:

If you need a great 0-32 brix refractometer, please contact me.  I have RHB32-ATC brix meters available for purchase for $45.  
Luke Lemmers
2141 Staghorn Dr
Shakopee, MN 55379
952-239-2042
luke@cutfill.com

Agriculture Solutions has a variety of refractometers - A Maine company. Be sure to get the 0-23 brix range.

Lee Valley refractometer http://www.leevalley.com/US/garden/page.aspx?p=46784&cat=2,2120 

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply  - lots of info on foliar solutions, raising brix, etc. Worth asking for a catalogue.