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Home>FFTC Document Database>Annual Reports>FFTC 2018 ANNUAL REPORT>Project 4: Soil and plant tissue analysis: testing methods, QA/QC, data interpretation and application
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Collection of information & technologies
Seminars and workshops

Project 4: Soil and plant tissue analysis: testing methods, QA/QC, data interpretation and application

Location: Taichung, Taiwan
Date: September 11-15
Participating countries: 9 (Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, United States and Vietnam)
Papers presented: 15
Co-organizers: Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)

In the plant research world, the application of fertilizers to enhance yield and quality of food production is very important. And yet, many researchers, especially those working in the laboratories, lack the basic understanding of soil fertility and nutrient status of plants and the overuse of fertilizers and its effects on the environment. While it is true that there are existing laboratories for soil and plant testing in different parts of the world, many people working in those labs still lack the knowledge and skills on analysis methods, quality analysis and quality control (QA/QC), data interpretation and its application. These are all deemed critical to the success of nutrient diagnosis and fertilizer recommendation to farmers.

FFTC has teamed up with the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) to conduct an international workshop on soil and plant tissue analysis—two very efficient tools to determine soil fertility and nutrient status of crops.

The International Workshop on Soil and Plant Tissue Analysis: Testing Methods, QA/QC, Data Interpretation and Application was conducted on September 11-15 in Taichung, Taiwan. It was attended by soil and plant scientists and researchers from nine countries. Prior to the workshop, a proficiency testing (PT) program on soil and plant analysis was conducted in order to maintain the quality of soil/plant testing laboratories. This is crucial since more and more people working in laboratories are actively participating in the program of inter-laboratory comparison (or proficiency test) in order to get certification or accreditation for analytic quality of laboratories. 

With the advancement of information technology, soil and plant testing data has already been incorporated with GIS and ICT technologies. Therefore, soil and plant/testing data can be applied not only in soil fertility diagnosis, but also in site-specific nutrient management, soil quality monitoring, land use planning, etc. These topics are expected to be tackled in the workshop and through the sharing and exchange of experiences of the participants coming from different laboratories in the region, the reliability of testing data can hopefully be improved and ensured.

The first day of the workshop comprised of three presentation sessions consisting of nine papers, ranging from the history, ongoing development and adoption of nutrient application guidelines, testing methods and QA/QC for soil and plant tissue analysis. The presentations also delved on the introduction to testing methods, QA/QC, and data interpretation of soil and plant tissue analysis laboratories in the Asian Pacific countries. On the second day, there were more presentation sessions consisting of five papers ranging from the introduction of FFTC 2018 proficiency testing program of soil and plant tissue analysis to application of soil and plant tissue for enhancing crop production and land use planning. The rest of the workshop were devoted to exposure and educational trips in TARI, Nantou and Yunlin counties where the speakers observed and interacted with officers and members of agricultural cooperatives, farmers association and a private company engaging in vegetable production.

Major findings and recommendations

1. Add more sessions on soil and plant tissue analysis and consider other sampling techniques in future workshops;
2. Continue the PT program, set mechanisms and consider doing the exchange of scientists in the Asian Pacific region;
3. Use cycles in the number of analysis in doing soil proficiency tests to get more accurate results;
4. Establish mechanisms to keep track of fertilizer recommendation rates and guidelines for fertilizer use;
5. Conduct training programs for young scientists to inculcate a deeper appreciation of soil science and soil laboratory techniques;
6. Develop strategies to gather more laboratory staff to share their knowledge and experiences in PT;
7. Strategize ways to convince more farmers to develop their interest in soil testing; and
8. Encourage the formation of communities or network of soil scientists to share and update information on soil science and related technologies.

List of papers

1. History, ongoing development, and adoption of nutrient application guidelines: Wisconsin USA as a case study - Carrie Laboski 
2. Correlation between nutrient concentrations determined by commonly used soil testing methods - Yu-Wen Lin 
3. Quality assurance and quality control of a soil testing laboratory - Yuan-Wu Chen 
4. Introduction of agricultural soil quality, soil inventory and soil testing in Japan - Yusuke Takata 
5. From soil analysis to Thai farmer’s production - Audthasit Wongmaneeroj 
6. Philippines country report on the soil and plant test laboratories, test methods, QA/QC implementation and interpretation of results for agriculture application - Gina P. Nilo
7. Efficient quality management system for good practice and achievement laboratory - Phai Duy Do 
8. Introduction of soil and plant tissue testing laboratories in Taiwan: from sample testing to fertilizer recommendation - Tsang-Sen Liu
9. Introduction to Korean soil testing program and its application - Myung-Suk Kong
10. An overview of Malaysian guidelines on soil testing and its application for nutrient classification - Norziana Zin Zawawi
11. The role of soil and plant tissue testing for agricultural development in Indonesia - Ruby Husnain
12. Introduction of FFTC 2018 proficiency testing program of soil and plant tissue analysis: sample preparation, homogeneity/stability testing, and data statistical analysis - Chien-Hui Syu
13. Simple and quick testing methods for available nitrogen in soil - Kenji Kanazawa
14. Soil database and its use in Korea - Suk-young Hong
15. Experiences on the application of soil and land cover databases in soil management in Taiwan - Horng-Yuh Guo


The workshop speakers and participants visit the Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station in Yuchi Township, Nantou as part of their educational trip. They also observe and interact with officers and members of agricultural cooperatives, farmers associations and a private vegetable agriculture company.


Fourteen speakers from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and the United States grace this year’s International Workshop on “Soil and Plant Tissue Analysis” at the TARI headquarters in Taichung, Taiwan. One of the strong recommendations of the workshop is to encourage the formation of communities or network of soil scientists to share and update information on soil science and related technologies.


Workshop participants listen intently to the speakers who mostly emphasize the need to upgrade inter-laboratory comparison (proficiency tests) in order to get certification or accreditation for analytic quality laboratories. Some of the topics covered testing methods, QA/QC and data interpretation and application. Prior to the workshop, participants were requested to conduct their own proficiency testing program (PT program) of soil and plant tissue analysis in their respective laboratories.