In case of degraded soil structure (e.g. compaction) assessing soil quality is crucial to further adapt cropping practices in order to restore soil structure.
With a quick and reproducible method, the spade-test assesses soil structure in order to monitor soil quality.
The spade test is a diagnosis tool to assess soil structure (scoring from 1 to 5 = very compacted). This tool is a simplified version of the soil profile diagnosis method that quickly provides information to the user and helps for decision making (e.g. tillage operations). The guideline document explains how to extract a soil block with a spade (20 cm * 20 cm * 25 cm or more) and interpret the observed soil structure. The spade test only requires a spade and a tarp. The leaflet contains an interpretation table for scoring the soil structure based on the observation of the clods. It also contains a notation sheet. The tool has been developed for organic agriculture but could be used in conventional agriculture. The test is applicable in all European pedo-climatic conditions.