Soil health, provides an overall picture of the condition of many properties and processes; the terms soil health and soil quality can be used interchangeably.
Soil health or quality is the soil’s fitness to support crop growth without resulting in soil degradation or otherwise harming the environment. Soil quality changes slowly because of natural processes, such as weathering, and more rapidly under human activity; land use and farming practices may change soil health for the better or for the worse. Soil health deteriorates mainly through erosion by wind and water, loss of organic matter, breakdown of soil structure, and chemical contamination.
There are ways to help improve your soil health! If you are interested in learning more about our Soil Health programs listed below, contact us today at the Blue Earth SWCD. We can help you create a plan that will target the goals you have for the soil in your field. We can also help by providing funding sources that will assist with the financial costs during your trials with attempting to restore your soil health.
Business Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Call (507) 345-4744 and we’ll tell you all about it!
Just a few tips…
- Follow a crop rotation sequence with high residue producing crops. Soybeans don’t provide the same kind of protection as corn, for example. Also, high yields give more residues.
- Wait until spring for tillage operations. This is most important on soybean ground. Fall tilled soybean ground is very vulnerable to wind erosion in late winter and early spring.
- Reduce the number of tillage passes. In most cases, this is as important as the type of tillage performed.
- Plant rye or wheat as winter cover crops. This is a good option when you are growing low-residue crops such as soybeans.
- Set chisels and disks to work shallower. Residues can be buried to the tillage depth.
- Drive slower on tillage operations. Driving faster throws more soil and covers more residue.
- No-till drill soybeans instead of planting them conventionally. No-till drilling keeps more residue on the soil surface, and generally
produces a quicker canopy.
- Convert to a no-till system. No-till disturbs residue only in the row.