Published Dec 18, 2014

Haney & PLFA Soil Tests: What, How? Why?

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


Do you wonder how soil tests can be used to help improve your soil management? Learn the basics of two increasingly popular tests – the Haney and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) soil tests – from soil microbiologist Lance Gunderson, including how the results are determined and how to interpret these results. Farmer and grazier Fred Abels will then describe how he’s used the Haney test on his farm to inform his management. They will both discuss the results of tests taken on Fred’s farm.

  • Fred Abels and his wife Vicki raise no-till corn and soybeans, cattle and pasture near Holland. They use cover crops, strip grazing and grazing corn to economically feed their animals and ecologically keep their soil covered.
  • Lance Gunderson is the staff soil microbiologist at Ward Laboratories, Inc. in Kearney, Neb. He has extensive experience with analyzing results of both the phospholipid fatty-acid (PLFA) and Haney soil tests, and communicating what these results mean for farmers.