SERA6: Methodology, Interpretation, and Implementation of Soil, Plant, Byproduct, and Water Analyses
(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)
SERA6: Methodology, Interpretation, and Implementation of Soil, Plant, Byproduct, and Water Analyses
Duration: 10/01/2012 to 09/30/2017
Statement of Issues and Justification
The mission of the Southern Extension and Research Activities Information Exchange Group (SERA-IEG-6) is to increase the awareness, understanding, and interpretation of soil, plant, byproduct, and water analyses and their proper application to land and resource management in the Southern USA through unbiased, scientifically sound information.
The SERA-IEG-6 is a cooperative effort among the Southern states to develop, modify, and document reference analytical procedures; encourage uniformity in the soil test correlation/calibration/interpretation process for the development of nutrient and resource management guidelines among geographic areas that share similar soils, climate, and environmental concerns; encourage both analytical proficiency and adequate quality assurance/quality control for laboratories in the Southern Region of the United States that perform nutrient analyses; provide unbiased scientific reasoning for the use and interpretation of soil, plant, byproduct, and water analyses and its application to resource management; and facilitate the dissemination of research data and educational materials among public institutions, laboratories, and other entities that use information generated from soil, plant, byproduct, and water analyses. These objectives are realized by the dissemination of information and identification of critical issues by use of annual technical meetings, committee involvement, task force development, publications, and personal communication among representatives and other interested parties.
Accurate and timely analyses of soil, plant, byproduct, and water using appropriate analytical and interpretation procedures is required with the current emphasis on nutrient management and its impact on the quality of life in both rural and urban areas. Nutrient management issues have a high priority at the local, regional, and national levels, and a number of institutions, organizations, and agencies cooperate to ensure the economic sustainability of production agriculture and industrial activities while striving to maintain a healthy environment. Effective nutrient management serves commercial agriculture and the public by ensuring soil amendments are used wisely. Constant changes in technology dictate the need to continuously reevaluate analytical methods, interpretation of information, and problem solving approaches to improve nutrient utilization by crops and loss of nutrients to the environment.
Accomplishments of the workgroup are summarized below.
1. A web site is updated and maintained with meeting minutes, fact sheets, publications, group accomplishments, and laboratory contacts (www.clemson.edu/sera6).
2. Three fact sheets were developed on new lime buffer methods that remove hazardous chemicals from the laboratory (http://www.clemson.edu/sera6/publications1.htm).
3. A white paper was prepared entitled Public Agricultural Services/Soil Testing Laboratories: their value and contributions in the Land Grant University to describe the need for continued support of public agricultural testing laboratories for teaching, public service, agricultural and interdisciplinary research (http://www.clemson.edu/sera6/announcements1.htm).
4. A subcommittee was formed to promote education for well water testing.
5. Member laboratories participated in analyses of soil samples to validate the use of Mehlich 3 for P and other nutrients which culminated in two peer-reviewed publications (Schroder et al., 2009 and Zhang et al., 2009).
6. A publication was updated that summarizes the procedures and recommendations from state laboratories of the southern region (Savoy, 2009).
7. A Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin was published on soil testing and recommendations for cotton on coastal plains soils (Mitchell et al., 2010).
8. A database of laboratory results from the North American Proficiency Testing (NAPT) program was developed (http://www.clemson.edu/sera6/index.htm).
9. Final drafts of peer-reviewed chapters for a methods manual on soil test procedures used in Southeastern states of the USA are completed and being edited for publication (http://www.clemson.edu/sera6/methods/).
10. This group is one of the oldest, continuous Experiment Station/Extension work groups in the South. Its first meeting was held in 1954 with the primary purpose of developing more uniform soil test methodology and research-based interpretation. Most procedures and interpretations used in the Southern region today have been developed by this group.
To develop, modify, and document reference analytical procedures for laboratories performing agricultural and environmental analyses in the Southern region.
To encourage uniformity in soil test correlation, calibration, and interpretation for the development of nutrient and resource management guidelines among geographic areas that share similar soils, crops, climate, and environmental concerns.
To encourage analytical proficiency and adequate quality assurance/quality control among laboratories in the Southern region.
To provide unbiased scientific analysis for the proper use and interpretation of soil, plant, byproduct, and water analyses and their application to resource management.
To facilitate the sharing and transfer of research data and educational materials among public institutions, laboratories, and other entities that use information generated from soil, plant, byproduct, and water analyses.
Procedures and Activities
An annual technical meeting will be held in rotation among all participating states. SERA-6 will join other regional groups with similar focus on agricultural testing once every four years. Committees and Task Forces will be established when necessary to conduct collaborative projects, develop procedures, and generate publications. A listserve (SERA-IEG-6-L@CLEMSON.EDU) and web site (http://www.clemson. edu/sera6/) will be used to further foster communication among participants and the public.
Expected Outcomes and Impacts
- A methods manual on soil test methods used in the Southeastern USA will be published. Previous methods manuals were published in 1983 and 1992. New methods and technology have resulted in the need for a new publication. The group will continue to be leaders in the field of soil testing by providing details on the analytical methods used in each of our laboratories.
- Revise existing fact sheet publications when necessary.
- Publications on laboratory methodology and interpretation of water, and byproduct analysis will be developed to the current state of knowledge in the area
- Develop more uniform testing and interpretation of agricultural and environmental samples in the Southern Region.
- Improve public knowledge about changes in agricultural testing, crop production, and protection of the environment through our website and fact sheet publications.
- Outcome/Impact 6; Labs in the Southern Region will continue to play an important role in agricultural production and environmental protection. Outcome/Impact 7; Maintain involvement with proficiency testing programs for soil, plant, water, and byproduct analysis that help to improve laboratory performance. These programs include the North American Proficiency Testing program of the Soil Science Society of America, the Agriculture Laboratory Proficiency Program, the Manure Analysis Proficiency Program, and others. Outcome/Impact 8; Resolve regional issues in agricultural and environmental testing via rapid communication with other members of the group through the email listserve.
Projected ParticipationView Appendix E: Participation
The objectives are realized through research, experimentation, presentations at annual meetings, discussion at annual meetings and through the group's listserve, committee involvement, task force development, and publications.
SERA-IEG-6 involves approximately 45 participants representing each of the Southern Region states/territories (except for the Virgin Islands) and two states outside the region (Missouri and Colorado). In addition, participants include ARS and State Department of Agriculture representatives.
The set of stakeholders, customers, and/or consumers for which the program is intended is researchers, extension personnel, farmers, nursery and greenhouse managers, homeowners, turf managers, and other technical service providers. Information regarding services and research can be accessed through the web or from each state institution.
The group meets once a year. The meeting place cycles amongst the Universities of the members in the Southern region. Every four years, a joint meeting is held with informational exchange groups of other regions with similar objectives in agricultural testing.
Officers to hold positions of secretary, chair-elect, and chair are elected from the active members. An officer is elected every other year at the annual business meeting. This individual holds the positions of secretary for two years, chair-elect for two years, and chair for two years.
A web-site is maintained at Clemson University and is continually updated with meeting minutes, annual accomplishments, publications, issue papers, and laboratory links at http://www.clemson.edu/sera6/.
Mitchell, C.C., C.R. Crozier, D.H. Hardy, D.E. Kissel, J.L. Oldham, S. Phillips, and L. Sonon. 2010. Research-based Soil Testing and Recommendations for Cotton on Coastal Plain Soils. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin No. 410. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. Auburn University.
Savoy, H.J. 2009. Procedures Used by State Soil Testing Laboratories in the Southern Region of the United States. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin No. 409. Clemson Experiment Station. Clemson University.
Schroder, J.L., H. Zhang, J.R. Richards, and M.E. Payton. 2009. An inter-laboratory validation of Mehlich 3 as a universal extractant for plant nutrients. J. AOAC International 92: 995-1008.
Zhang, H., S. Kariuki, J. Schroder, M. Payton, and C. Focht. 2009. Inter-laboratory validation of the Mehlich 3 for extraction of plant-available phosphorus. J. AOAC International 92: 91-102.