I've heard a lot about the Haney Test from different soil scientists, and was wondering how the Haney test average results look for wood chips that compost for 6 months-5 years.

1 Answer 1


Disregarding the papers written by Haney himself, the consensus seems to be that the results are fairly meaningless.

For example https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/ag/nutrientdigest/2015-summer.pdf concludes that

  1. Haney soil health methodology requires standardization. Specifically: carbon dioxide evolution method(s) require optimization for moisture content, temperature and labware to resolve performance issues.
  2. Haney methods require cross-lab validation to resolve intralaboratory issues, and lab performance testing to assure quality soil analysis data.


  1. Lab procedures used in conducting the battery of tests that go into the Soil Health Score are still undergoing standardization. Soil Health Scores currently have high random variability (associated with test methodology). Therefore, it is unrealistic to regard the current Soil Health Score as a reliable indicator of real change in measured parameters in a field over time.
  2. Estimated nitrogen fertilizer savings reported with the Haney soil test data by some laboratories are not considered reliable. These projected fertilizer savings are strongly related to the highly variable soil respiration rate measured in the laboratory. The "N fertilizer savings" estimates provided with Haney test data have not been extensively validated in field trials in the Western Region.

This notes that

Stahl also pointed out that the Haney test has not been correlated or calibrated for Minnesota conditions.

It was developed in Texas, which has a completely different environment, different soil types, different temperatures, different precipitation, different growing season, differences in soil organic matter, cropping system, and so on,” she wrote. “That should raise all kinds of red flags as we know these factors influence nutrient availability, mineralization, etc.”

On that evidence, applying the test to wood chip composting will make Dr Haney slightly richer, and give you some random numbers. Cheaper sources of random numbers are available :)

  • I was looking for more of the chart if one is out there for things. Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 16:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.