Presently, expense and logistics restrict soil ecology testing to highly developed countries and large farm operations. In North America, these tests cost as much as $150 each and are only done every 2-5 years. The cost also means that “precision” agriculture based on soil characteristics consists of one test for every 2.5 acres. Often these tests take two to six weeks to come back from the laboratories to which they are sent. A hungry world needs these tests to cost pennies each and be available on a micro scale in near real time.
From the Ohio State University, we have licensed a one-step soil health test that gives a real-time measurement of soil organic matter, nitrogen, and microbial vitality in the field. The soil laboratory at The Ohio State University South Center supports this test with years of research and thousands of soil samples from around the world. Two versions—one using a color scale and another using a colorimeter—are available at a price point that makes them affordable for use in every part of the developing world.
While our first-tier test covers the macronutrients necessary for crop health, there is still a need to read elements such as potassium, phosphorus, and trace micronutrients. To address these needs, we are partnered with Los Alamos National Laboratories to adapt the soil testing technology, which was developed for the NASA Mars Rover, to commercialize this technology for terrestrial agricultural uses. A patent-pending process allows these readings to generate digital contour soil maps in real time
SOIL1 TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP