Soil Organic Matter Content Analysis


  • D. Chambers
  • H. McDonnell


Soil organic matter (SOM) can be a great indicator of soil quality. However, land cultivation can
result in a decrease in SOM, thus decreasing farmers’ ability to grow crops. To combat this,
farmers employ techniques to increase the SOM content of their soil. To understand the
effectiveness of these techniques and the effect of cultivation on SOM content, we tested the
SOM content of farm soil and uncultivated soil from backyards under the hypothesis that farm
soil would have higher SOM content. The soil was sampled from two different general locations:
Squamish and Vancouver. In each location, three soil samples were taken from two different
farms and a backyard. In Squamish, the farms were Lavendel and Nutridense. The farms in
Vancouver were Snow and UBC. Samples were dried and then reacted with hydrogen peroxide
to remove SOM through oxidation. The mass of the soils pre and post-treatment with hydrogen
peroxide was compared to determine the SOM percentage in each sample. All of the data from
both general locations were grouped into either farm data and backyard data. The mean SOM
percentage for the farm group and backyard group was calculated as 1.825 and 1.098
respectively. An unpaired t-test was then run on the data to determine whether the difference in
means between the two groups was significant. After calculating a p-value of 0.1806, we
determined the difference in means was not significantly significant. Therefore, we failed to
support our hypothesis that farming techniques increase SOM content and concluded that
techniques employed by farmers are not effective in raising SOM past pre-cultivation levels.