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 April 19, 2021
Timing of cover crop termination can have significant benefits in wet and dry springs.
Published on April 2, 2021
Join us April 15, 2021, as Kurt Steinke shares nutrient management recommendations for the 2021 field crops season.
Published on March 31, 2021
Spring has sprung and it is time to start scouting your Christmas trees and prepare your integrated pest management (IPM) plan for the year.
Irrigation and drainage education February 18, as part of MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference.
Published on February 2, 2021
Six irrigation and drainage sessions will occur on February 18 as part of the MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference.
Published on January 28, 2021
Home gardeners can join large-scale farmers to learn about plant and soil science topics to enhance their sustainable practices.