Growing interest in American Kinsey-Albrecht soil analysis RE SEARCH extensive analysis reports that show that they cover all the important elements in our soils. Furthermore, the soil analysis includes many other factors that are important for a healthy soil. For example, it focuses on soil life, the structure and the nutrients present and/or required for the planned crop. What, for example, is the importance of soil life? I’ll name just one of many. An earthworm thrives best in the presence of sufficient organic material. That’s what it eats and anything it doesn’t need, it excretes as a complex organic compound, which promotes the availability of nutrients and strengthens the structure of the soil. Plants, including the potato, always have a preference for the more absorbable minerals that are in these complex organic compounds. Their preference for this is definitely greater than for the minerals applied in the many common artificial fertilisers’, says Van Gurp. ‘This is why we recommend applying fertilisers, nutrients that have similar complex compounds as those excreted by worms. These can be made with the help of urea. With urea you can make complex compounds that no longer resemble the original material, but possess the properties of organic fertilisers. Simply put, with these fertilisers you apply small copies of the clay-humus complex to the soil. Humus is the glue that holds the soil CO2-footprint of this entire fertiliser system is reduced by over 50 percent compared to the conventional methods’, laughs Van Gurp. The ideal soil volume ‘However, what we haven’t yet talked about is oxygen and water’, continues the soil and fertiliser expert. ‘I always make this clear with a practical example. A cow can live for three weeks without food, but without water the animal will only last for three days and without oxygen for only three minutes. This makes its environment the most important aspect. A cow needs clean air and room to move. Naturally, this also includes a balanced ration. For plants like the potato, it’s no different. In an ideal soil structure, 50 percent of the soil volume consists of solid particles, that’s 45 percent mineral and about 5 percent organic, and 50 percent consists of pores. The ideal soil volume of pores is half filled with water and half with air (oxygen). Clean air and space to grow are also factors that plants cannot do without for proper roots and growth. And a balanced plant ration can only be achieved with a good soil balance. That requires a combination of sufficient soil life and an ample supply of plant-available minerals in the right proportions. Most soil analyses only take the plant ration into account. ‘A soil always needs some form of acidification, because that’s the way to make micronutrients available to a plant’ particles together. The presence of sufficient humus and/or clay also means that a soil has the ability to retain the necessary minerals for as long as possible and thus make them available for the plant roots. As a result, they’re not subject to volatilisation or leaching. When you imitate that with fertiliser, you achieve the same effect. And by placing these fertilisers in the right place at the right time of growth, you create optimum efficiency for the purchased fertiliser. Even de Kinsey-Albrecht also take environmental factors into account in their analyses. Total Exchange Capacity is a basic concept The most common soil quality indicators are soil type, organic matter and pH. Van Gurp: ‘I’ll just focus on pH for now. What we see in practice is that farmers are liming their soils on the basis of the soil-and-target pH value. Given our knowledge and experience, this is the Neal Kinsey (l), here on Dutch soil, has applied Albrecht’s soil theory for almost 50 years in a wide range of soils, climates and crops and has refined it further. wrong approach. Within KinseyAlbrecht, we work with the basic concept of Total Exchange Capacity (TEC). This involves the total sum of all negativelycharged particles of clay and humus in the clay-humus complex. The negativelycharged particles of clay and humus act like magnets. In a nutshell, the more clay and/or humus there is in the soil, the more ‘magnets’ occur in it that can attract the positively-charged cations and the higher the TEC value. These cations are calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, ammonium, zinc, etc., but hydrogen (H+) is also part of it. I always think of TEC as a cinema. The cinema Seats are occupied by all the available cations. The more Seats that are occupied with the H+ cation, the more acidic the soil and the lower the pH. What you as a plant grower (or soil user) would like to know is the ideal Seat occupancy in the cinema, or the ideal cation occupation for the TEC (clay-humus complex). Potato World 2020 • number 2 27 Pagina 26

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