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Is Web Soil Survey Missing Data for Certain Parameters?

 
Posts: 31
Location: North Central Idaho - Zone 6B/7A Average Rainfall: 25 inches
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I've noticed something odd while using the WSS (Web Soil Survey) portal...

Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) is often - if not always - rated 0% in the top 48 inches of soil (and this will be true across all soil units present)
Electrical Conductivity (EC) is likewise rated 0.0, across all depth ranges and soil units
Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) is also rated 0.0 across all depth ranges and soil units

I've just looked back at a number of previous soil reports, and (in every case where this info was collected) these parameters returned zero-values.

Is this data simply missing from the database?
 
Donner MacRae
Posts: 31
Location: North Central Idaho - Zone 6B/7A Average Rainfall: 25 inches
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Bump.
 
master steward
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Location: West Tennessee
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That's a real good question, and I don't have the answer. My speculation is that the data has not been collected, as I think it would be quite costly and labor intensive to gather tens of thousands or more samples and then run the tests. On the front page of the web soil survey is a "contact us" button. Perhaps emailing the agent for the state you reside in will result in a more conclusive answer.
 
gardener
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I remember looking closely at it at one point in the past and it said somewhere certain times they don't have all the data.
 
pollinator
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A lot of their data is generated by people doing soil testing I think. I know here we have a box that we check if we do not want the testing lab to send the results to the USDA. I never check it because I do not care if the government knows about my dirt, and I think it is good for others to know soil data like on Web Soil Survey. In this case maybe not enough people are sending in data to get a measurable amount of data. (I do not know, that is just a guess).

Where I live, it is farm country so there is a lot of data being collected.

I read this post days ago. but never replied because here the soil is very acidic, sometimes as low as 5.2 PH level. I do not know much about the other side of the PH levels.
 
gardener
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The missing data you listed is data that would come from a "complete" analysis, not the normal testing that most people are satisfied with, that is why items show 0.00, there isn't any data from the soil test.

Most folks don't want to spend the extra money for complete testing and for most folks it really isn't necessary for their needs.

Redhawk
 
Donner MacRae
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Greetings James. Greetings Amit and Travis.

I came in here to post last night (before RedHawk had posted his reply)...unfortunately, the computer I use for internet did its crashing thing.

Posting this now while things seem to be working -

"My speculation is that the data has not been collected, as I think it would be quite costly and labor intensive to gather tens of thousands or more samples and then run the tests."

I guess that makes the most sense....it's just an empty value set. Confusingly (if this is the case), they included an option in the database to "Interpret nulls as zero". Even when this option is left un-selected, the values returned for the above parameters are 0 (or 0.0).

Greetings RedHawk,

"The missing data you listed is data that would come from a "complete" analysis, not the normal testing that most people are satisfied with, that is why items show 0.00, there isn't any data from the soil test."

Aha -  then, the data for these parameters is obtained from local soil-testing. That would lead me to believe that these data may only be available for areas where Order of Soil Survey is listed as either 2 (Intensive) or 1 (Very intensive), and zero-values can otherwise be disregarded.

"Most folks don't want to spend the extra money for complete testing and for most folks it really isn't necessary for their needs."

Well, being that I'm a relative newbie to soils-related stuff, I wasn't sure if these parameters were among the most important ones to consider when evaluating land - except I can see that one of them has a bearing on the salinity of the soil, which sounds like it could be an important variable to pin down.

Thanks for shedding light on the matter for me.

[Edited for clarity]
 
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