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 July 17, 2020
Controlling erosion on your farm is good for the environment but also your pocketbook.
Published on July 1, 2020
Sieg Snapp and Regis Chikowo, researchers in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, are helping farmers improve soil health and sustainability.
Published on June 17, 2020
Proper use of biochar can improve soil fertility and health.
Published on May 1, 2020
The inherent nature of the agricultural occupation is independent. Isolation is often linked to impacts on mental health and loss of life by suicide.
Published on April 30, 2020
Handling low profits means you need to manage the financial risks affecting your operation.