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.
Field Crops Virtual Breakfast series to kick off new growing season March 30, 2023
Published on March 9, 2023
This free weekly series for farmers and agribusinesses focuses on a wide array of relevant field crop pest and crop management topics during the growing season.
Prairie strips: A case study on improving farming yields and pollinator habitat by transforming unprofitable farmland into prairie
Published on March 2, 2023
Creating an agroecosystem to benefit wildlife, research, and the future of farming.
New MSU research helps better quantify soil carbon stock changes
Published on February 27, 2023
In a new paper published in Scientific Reports, MSU professor Bruno Basso shows how scientists must use a correction calculation to accurately quantify changes in soil carbon stocks over time.
Michiana Irrigated Corn and Soybean Conference on March 6
Published on February 17, 2023
The Michiana Irrigated Corn and Soybean Conference in Shipshewana, Indiana, will prepare farmers and irrigation professionals for the 2023 growing season.
Contemporary concepts to increase profit offered at 2023 Drainage Workshop
Published on February 8, 2023
Learn modern drainage design with free user-friendly online tools and hands-on exercises March 7-9, 2023.