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 28, 2022
The Michigan State University Extension fruit team is excited to have an entire session dedicated to soil health in fruit crops.
Published on November 15, 2022
One of several beginning farmer workshops at this year’s event.
Published on November 10, 2022
The plant nutrient content of manure depends on animal species, feeding program, storage facilities and other factors.
Published on November 7, 2022
Join Michigan State University Extension for the return in-person Thumb Ag Day on Dec. 14 in Ubly. New this year is an animal agriculture track in addition to the traditional field crops track.
Published on November 4, 2022
Reducing the risks associated with winter manure application