228: Sheri McLane on Soil and Plant Testing.
Improving plant yields through expert analysis of growing mediums.
– – – –
Sheri was interested in science and how things worked from a young age. She was fascinated with paleontology in middle school and even participated in archeology digs with the local museum. In high school, she loved geology and marine biology which led her to the University of San Diego where she obtained a major in marine science with an emphasis in biology and a minor in environmental science. Upon graduation, she worked for environmental labs learning new analytical techniques and her thirst for science knowledge grew.
Sheri was planning on pursuing a career in marine mammal rescue and habitation, however, her undergrad studies caused a change in her career path. She decided to learn more about soil and plant science, a topic of interest from her undergrad course work. She went to work for IAS Laboratories and studied under Dr. Paul Eberhart for many years.
Sheri has been working in the agriculture field for the last fifteen years and is now the president of IAS Laboratories. Her focus on soil and plants has held firm and she’s earned her masters in agronomy through Iowa State and is in the process obtaining her soil scientist and CPAg certification.
In This Podcast:
Soil scientist Sheri McLane explains how she found her calling in an agronomy and is driven to help farmers and gardeners with their soil questions. There is a great deal of science in determining the chemical make-up of soil samples and figuring out what is needed for different crops, and she knows how to help explain it for the rest of us. Sheri also helps by sharing a few tips for some basic soil remediation in this interview.
Listen in and learn about:
- Her passion for science that started as a young girl and kept going through into college
- The change from biology to marine biology and then to environment and finally to plant and soil sciences
- Figuring out what plants are saying and even asking for – agronomy
- How IAS is an independent soil testing company that can serve a wide variety of customers
- What can be determined when soil is tested
- How this helps farmers, gardeners, nurseries, and even fertilizer companies
- What a fingerprint is for soil and fertilizer products
- How plants are tested and what that means for yield and nutrients
- What urban farmers need to test in their soils
- What different salts are and why they need to be identified in the tests
- What a high pH means in soils and how that interacts with heavy metals
- How to collect samples for testing
- How long a test takes and what is included in the reports
- What to do if you think there is an herbicide in the soil
As well as:
- Her failure – When she cannot help one of the clients
- Her success – Being able to come from a non-agricultural background and help as a woman in a male-dominated agriculture environment
- Her drive – Knowing the answer before anyone else does, helping others to help their plants grow
- Her advice – give your plants adequate light and water and plant appropriate for your area
Sheri’s Book recommendations:
The Nature and Properties of Soils (15th Edition) by Nyle Brady
Soil Science and Management By Edward Plaster
How to reach Sheri:
Phone: 602-273-7248 (Arizona, USA)