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 6, 2021
Michigan State University and the Michigan Potato Industry Commission are hosting a potato field day at the Montcalm Research Center in Lakeview, Michigan, on Thursday, Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Published on May 4, 2021
Ecosystem services—can you have your cake and eat it, too?
Published on April 27, 2021
Carbon capture and storage; is it like trying to catch lightening in a bottle?
Published on April 20, 2021
Old McDonald had some…carbon?
Published on April 19, 2021
Timing of cover crop termination can have significant benefits in wet and dry springs.