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 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.
Published on October 13, 2021
In-field tool tracks soil health improvements.
Published on October 12, 2021
New Fertilizer Cost Comparison Tool is designed to help producers weigh the decision of purchasing expensive fertilizer products.
Published on September 20, 2021
A blog post from student crew member who merged his work at the SOF with an internship in his Biosystems Engineering major.
Published on September 16, 2021
Join the Field Crop Virtual Breakfast on Sept. 23 for tips on avoiding surprises during tax season.