Forums Cultivating Truffles Soil Analysis Troubleshooting Advice

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      Ruth Bunbury

        I am in desperate need of advice. The academic bodies in Ontario, while they have performing the analysis for me, refuse to give advice and recommendations based on the findings because they do not have experience with the crop: Tuber aestivum syn. uncinatum (Burgundy Truffles). Even though I have supplied them with peer reviewed research studies for comparison. Only suggesting saying that: “The Missouri document are in units of % (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium), these can be roughly converted to mg/L (units used on our report) by multiplying them be 10,000.” It is ridiculous. I am also in a horrible time crunch due to unfortunate family circumstances. I am hopeful that someone will be able to assist me in determining the best way forward.

        I am a new producer, taking over 40 acres of farm land from my father as he has not been engaged in the practice for some time (we are starting with 5 acres). The farm itself is is in Eastern Ontario, Canada. I worked my family’s farm during my childhood and early adulthood, but did not develop an expertise in soil ecology…definitely turning out to be my achilles heel.

        Burgundy truffles are fairly new to Ontario and when I tested the soil conditions last year they were agreeable (as it was my intention to move towards the goal of orchard development slowly and cautiously), however now (tested in late spring) testing results are not favourable to planting for future production, which is very alarming considering the cost of inoculated seedlings in Ontario. I have ordered 600 truffle inoculated Hazelnut trees for fall planting. I am not living on the farm currently as my family and I are slowly transitioning, I believe that my father, who is kind, sweet and the hardest working man I know, but also slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s, submitted soil from the wrong field for testing (a field that is not available for planting). The soil on the planting site, in terms of consistency is silty-clay-loam. The field has been used for growing hay pasture mix and soy beans (most recently left to rest with soy bean remnants) then I lightly tilled it and seeded with a cover crop.

        I am not sure how to correct the situation as the field, 5 acres, 3 of which will be planted (the bottom area is comprised of Moscow clay and is unsuitable), was recently planted with a cover crop of oats/barley mid May. The analysis came back this past week.

        The analysis shows a Ph that is much too low to encourage successful fruiting of truffles and other nutrients are also off by significant margins. When the soil was initially sent for analysis I asked for recommendations from The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, as it was included in the testing, but the Agriculture and Food Laboratory at the major agricultural university in Canada, (University of Guelph) said they could not provide recommendations as they did not have available data. When I received the results back last week, alarmed, I asked again, providing, as I mentioned above, research to assist them and they declined to assist.

        I would greatly appreciate any insight and advice members would be able to give me in terms of soil amendments and application methodology (am I going to have to turn over the entire cover crop?), because I am stuck! I have attached data from Agricultural food Lab at the University of Guelph as well data from a research study conducted by the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry.

        Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing back from you.


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