Soil testing should be the first step for a good nutrient management program, but it all starts with the proper sample collection procedure. Do you know how to take a representative soil sample?
Do you know the difference between the terms soil structure and soil aggregation? What is the relationship between soil aggregation and soil health? What management practices promote aggregation in soils? Get answers to these questions and more in this article from doctoral student Laura Starr.
During the bitterly cold period in mid-February, air temperatures dropped as low as -30 F in some locations. Soil temperatures, however, did not get near that cold. Several interacting factors control soil temperature flux. Learn some basic principles about soil temperature changes in this article.
Every year, questions arise about soil compaction. Compaction can reduce plant growth, reduce root penetration, restrict water and air movement in the soil, result in nutrient stresses, and cause slow seedling emergence. Now is a good time to check soils for signs of compaction.
Cropland can be quite susceptible to wind erosion under some conditions. Cooler-than-normal temperatures and drought conditions may limit vegetative growth and cover. Burning or removing crop residues for forage creates a particularly serious hazard. Winter wheat and other fall-planted crop fields also may be susceptible during periods of low cover in the winter and early spring. This is particularly true during drought.
There is a new option in the toolbox for producers looking to implement a new soil health practice. The Soil Health Matrix Decision Tool is a free tool that was recently developed by the Soil Health Nexus and a regional advisory team with support from the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. It is designed to assess the effects of current and future management practices on soil health. Producers can use this comparative tool to get an overall feel for practices that benefit soil health and learn which management decisions may be the best fit for their operation.