Soil health is defined by the USDA NRCS as the continued capacity of a soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. These functions include maintaining plant productivity, regulating and partitioning water, filtering and buffering against pollutants, and storing and cycling nutrients.
Soil health as we know it depends on management and generally boils down to organic matter and porosity, two physical properties that are highly dependent on soil texture. When we have higher organic matter we have, greater water infiltration, lower bulk density, higher EC (Electro Conductivity), higher respiration, greater soil nitrogen, greater aggregate stability, more earthworms and more soil microbes.
To improve soil health farmers should consider implementing a practice or combination of practices that depend on soil texture, soil health status, and constraints of their farming system. The practices include minimizing disturbance, maximize time with living roots, keep the soil covered, and diversifying rotations.
Published on November 24, 2021
Join MSU Extension field crops educators for this free virtual Thumb Ag Day on Dec. 8, 2021.
Published on November 12, 2021
Cut flower program features pro tips, sage advice and insight from the academy.
Published on November 3, 2021
This collaborative project is engaging community-based beginning farmer programs and beginning farmers to create educational resources and trainings for educators in Michigan.
Published on November 2, 2021
Learn about drainage concepts and how to design drainage systems for crop production and water-quality protection on March 8-10.
Published on October 25, 2021
This series includes nutrient management recommendations for when fertilizer costs are high, after incorporating soil health practices and to minimize loss to the environment.