Last week, potatogrower.com re-published an article from the Wisconsin State Farmer that described a soil test developed by USDA scientist Rick Haney. Proponents of the Haney Test claim it more accurately predicts soil fertility by combining measurements of microbial activity with those of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Since running the article, we have received several responses from researchers questioning the Haney Test's merits, particularly in the soils of the western United States. As there is no external scientific review and assessment of the Haney Test methods, interpretations of soil results are thus far unsubstantiated. Many soil and crop scientists--trusted, long-time friends of Potato Grower--have cautioned growers against using the test as a metric for soil health or production potential.
Our recommendation for growers regarding soil tests is to get in touch with local extension scientists and private research firms before making any decisions on their farms.