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 September 12, 2022
Fertilizer Planning Resources Available from MSU Extension.
Published on August 18, 2022
Five MSU researchers are part of the team that received a $1.2M grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Published on July 6, 2022
Spartan scientists lead several aspects of research to understand how grazing management affects soil health and farmer well-being.
Published on June 13, 2022
By using the best manure management practices, the field application of manure produced in the feedlot can enhance soil productivity and contribute to overall farm profitability while maintaining proper environmental stewardship.
Published on May 27, 2022
Corn, soybean, and wheat heads are emerging!