Based on the many agreeing comments I received after last month's newsletter, the idea that soil advisors should analyze biological elements as well as just simple chemical elements was on target with many of you. To continue further with that thought about advisors looking at the biological activity in soil, let's keep in mind that a bioassay requires someone trained in microbiology looking through a microscope to identify and count little critters.
Which leads to the point of this newsletter: I can pretty well count the number of well-organized and inexpensive bioassay services on my thumb and first finger! As the interest level in using soil biology to replace chemical methods grows (and it has already grown dramatically since I started this business seven years ago), I see a great need developing for more lab testing services, especially regional ones.
Ideally, such services would not only provide bio-profiles of soil samples, but would also offer general benchmark standards. Growers need some sort of "high-low, good-poor, above-below average" interpretive commentary for bioassays to have any practical value (and those comments need to be expressed in plain words, not in scientific jargon!). I would suggest that there are wonderful opportunities in this area for soil biologists with entrepreneural ambitions and communication skills.
The existing labs do good work, but there will be a need for many, many more in the future, especially for services that become intimately familiar with their local soils and crops. There is substantial business potential developing among commercial growers, but also among home gardeners, nurseries, and landscapers.
A good bio-testing service should retain individual field or garden results for making year-to-year comparisons in addition to general standards. I expect most growers would enjoy seeing their soils measure healthier over time as they learn how to encourage beneficial fungi and bacteria instead of destroying them.
And after we get all these local bio-testing labs set up, we can get busy building lots more composting facilities - another biology-based area of opportunity!
Onward and upward, friends!
BTW, thank you for the feedback.
President, BioOrganics, Inc.