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A field with patches of soil exhibiting poor water infiltration.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Cover Crops and Crop Residues

Planting cover crops and returning crop residues (stover) to the soil both adds nutrients and improves overall soil quality. These practices are common with producers across South Dakota and have been recently studied by researchers to identify how they impact the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

A patch of switchgrass growing at the edge of a field.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Planting Switchgrass on Marginal Lands

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a tall, native, prairie grass that is often seeded on marginal lands in South Dakota. It has gained growing popularity over the past decade not only as a source of biofuel and feed, but also as a method to improve soil properties.

A green tractor planting seeds in a no-till field. Courtesy: United Soybean Board [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Crop Rotations and No-Till

Implementing diverse crop rotations and no-till practices are common suggestions to reduce erosion, control pests, and improve yields. These practices can also improve soil health through an increase in soil carbon levels.

A roasted turkey in a tinfoil roasting pan.

Preparing Turkey for the Holidays

The holidays often involve preparing turkey. Planning ahead to safely prepare and roast a turkey will relieve some of the cooking stress associated with the holidays. Safe food handling is important for the health of you and your family.

An instant pot pressure cooker with chicken, butter, vegetables, and seasoning inside.

Instant Pot 101

Pressure cooking is a popular cooking option as it cooks and tenderizes food quickly. The Instant Pot works by quickly heating contents of the sealed pot, resulting in a buildup of steam and pressure.

Left: Soil from long-term no-till field, exhibiting good soil aggregation through clumping and smaller pieces of soil. Right: Soil from conventionally managed field that included tillage and crop residue removal. Notice the soil is lighter brown, indicating lower organic matter, and the pieces of soil are in larger chunks with no visible indication of clumping or structure.

Organic Agronomy Starting to Impact

For decades scientists have known that a handful of soil contained more micro-biological organisms than the number of humans on earth. Science is just beginning to discover these organisms and learn about their functions and contribution to their soil ecosystem.

A flock of white sheep grazing in a small pasture.

All American Sheep Day at the Black Hills Stock Show

January 10, 2020

The Black Hills Stock Show All American Sheep Day will be held Feb. 6, 2020 at the Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City, S.D. (915 Centre St).

A young lamb standing in a barn stall.

SDSU Extension Lambing Season Tour

January 10, 2020

SDSU Extension will be hosting a lambing season tour on Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020, in Newell, S.D. The group will gather at TJ’s Café & Waterin’ Hole (214 Dartmouth Ave, Newell, SD).

A steer standing in a feedlot. Its middle back has a visible bald spot due to lice.

Winter Lice Control

Seeing cattle rubbing hair off due to lice infestations can be extremely frustrating. Not only are the cattle damaging fences and equipment, there also can be performance losses and health issues not to mention that the cattle are simply not as visibly appealing, which can be very important for seedstock producers or feeders selling backgrounded feeders.

a wordmark for the 2020 Soil Health Awareness Day

South Dakota Declares February 21 Soil Health Awareness Day

February 20, 2020

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has declared February 21, 2020 Soil Health Awareness Day. Agriculture contributes over 132,000 jobs and 32.5 billion dollars in total output to South Dakota’s economy.