Good Fruit Grower

April 15

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Page 20 of 55 GOOD FRUIT GROWER APRIL 15, 2014 21 SPECIALTY TRACTORS Tier 3 Perkins )XHO(ɝFLHQW(QJLQHV Electro Hydraulic 'LIIHUHQWLDO/RFN Electro Hydraulic 3RZHU7DNH2II372 15x15 Mechanical RU[3RZHU6KXWWOH 3 - Remote Valve 2SWLRQV ȋ/RZ3URȴOH 7LUHV Four Wheel ,%6,QWHJUDO%UDNLQJ 70, 80, 87, or 93 372+RUVHSRZHU$YDLODEOH BUILT FOR ORCHARDS & VINEYARDS FEATURING THREE MODELS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO MEET YOUR APPLICATION NEEDS F Series 1DUURZ2UFKDUGLGHDOIRUVPDOOVL]HGRUFKDUGV GE Series/RZ2UFKDUG,GHDOIRUORZRUFKDUGSODQWDWLRQV GT Series/DUJH2UFKDUGLGHDOIRUVWDQGDUGRUFKDUGVDQGRSHQILHOGV %DFNHGE\D\HDU0DQXIDFWXUHU:DUUDQW\ȏ&DERSWLRQDYDLODEOHRQDOOPRGHOV WHEN YOU BUY A NEW LANDINI TRACTOR WHEN YOU BUY A NEW LANDINI TRACTOR SPRING SPECIALS CENTRAL WASHINGTON EQUIPMENT 509-663-8187 WENATACHEE, WA YAKIMA IMPLEMENT 509-452-5867 YAKIMA, WA HOOD RIVER SUPPLY 541-386-2757 HOOD RIVER, OR BLUELINE EQUIPMENT 509-544-6678 PASCO, WA BLUELINE EQUIPMENT 509-534-4550 WALLA WALLA, WA BLUELINE EQUIPMENT 509-839-2066 SUNNYSIDE, WA T o learn about the Cornell test, visit http:// For laboratories performing the Haney test, visit Ward Laboratories at or Brookside Laboratories, For information about the Solvita Soil Test, go to Soils high in organic matter are more forgiving during drought because they hold and supply more water and nutrients. "Organic matter is a key indicator in soil health," he said, but added that it doesn't necessarily equate to soil quality or fertility. Soil organic matter in Washington's Columbia Basin is naturally low, ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 percent. However, some of the state's top-selling wine grapes are produced from vineyards with low organic matter. Horneck noted that soil texture plays a role in organic matter, as does temperature. Soils in the Columbia Basin are sandy, temperatures are hot, and rainfall is low, all which make it difficult to significantly increase organic matter. "You're not going to increase Columbia Basin soil that's at 0.5 percent organic matter to 6 per- cent if the soil is 99 per- cent sand—at least not economically," he said. "Under such conditions, the roadblocks are too big and soils too well drained to think you can build soil organic matter levels above 1 to 2 percent." Practices that are destructive to organic matter include tillage, removing crop residues, and burning crop residues. Tillage has been shown to be one of soil's biggest enemies and is detrimental to soil health because it increases oxygen levels and allows release of carbon dioxideinto the atmosphere. Growing a perennial crop and keeping roots in the soil as long as possible is one of the best things for soil. Apply- ing compost and manure and growing a cover crop are also ways to improve soil organic matter. But there's a big difference between applying manure and compost, Horneck said. "Compost is like adding organic matter. It's already gone through the biological breakdown and can last in your soil for twenty years. Manure is more like adding fertilizer and may last only a couple years. Think of compost as a soil amendment; manure as a soil fertilizer." A cover crop is like a fertilizer, he said, but it also adds biomass. Though there are ways to increase organic matter, in many locations, it becomes a math problem. For exam- ple, adding humic acid to the soil can increase organic matter, but it takes a lot of material to make a change. One percent organic matter in the top foot of soil equals about 40,000 pounds—it's hard to add enough material to make a signifi cant difference, Horneck explained. Voodoo products He believes the new soil tests will help growers learn if different products work in their soils. "Managing soil health is not black and white," he said. "There's this whole mesh of grayness in the soil, grayness comes from the land of voodoo. There are lots of products you can apply to your soils to make them perform better. But soil health is such a complicated, big issue that it's hard to know what's really working." • "Managing soil health is not black and white." —Dr. Don Horneck

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