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A field of no-till soybeans and corn.

Crop Residue, Cover Crops Impact on Soil Health Parameters

Interest in no-till and cover crops has been on the rise among South Dakota crop producers. In 2019, half of South Dakota crop ground was under no-till management and about 900,000 acres were planted to cover crops.

A map of South Dakota illustrating soil temperatures on April 21, 2020. Temperatures throughout the state range from 41 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit. For more information, visit: https://climate.sdstate.edu/archive/maps/

Soil Temperature for Planting Spring Crops

Soil temperature is an important consideration for deciding when to begin planting spring crops. If producers in South Dakota would like a quick reference for soil temperatures in their area, the SD Mesonet network measures soil temperature at several weather stations throughout the state.

SDSU Extension Develops Perennial Plant Mixtures for Alkali Areas

April 24, 2020

The Every Acre Counts program through SDSU Extension has developed perennial plant mixture suggestions suited for various types of marginal land situations, including saline, sodic and wet soil areas. 

man holding a small pile of soil in his hands

Transitioning to Soil Health Systems in Eastern South Dakota Intended for beginners: Where do I start?

Fact sheet for beginners on where to start transitioning to soil health systems in eastern South Dakota.

Spring wheat growing in a no-till field. Courtesy: USDA NRCS South Dakota, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Chloride Fertilizers May Be Beneficial in Spring Wheat Production

Chloride, the ionic form of chlorine, although not considered an essential nutrient, has long been observed to be highly beneficial to field crops. Chloride is known to play an essential role in plant development and osmoregulation.

A farmer watching the sun rise in a bare, unplanted field.

Crop Tolerance to Soil Herbicide Residual

Some herbicides can persist in soil, especially dry soil. Herbicide carryover could be an issue in 2021 across the state depending upon last year’s moisture levels and field conditions.

Young tomato plants surrounded by organic mulch in a no-till garden.

Weed Control in No-Till Gardens

Mulch is the key to successful weed control in no-till gardening. It is best to start a no-till garden in the fall to give applied mulch the time to breakdown and suppress any weed growth.

Young man shoveling a pile of compost.

Organic Gardening: Soil Management

Gardeners throughout South Dakota are experimenting with organic gardening. While the adoption of organic gardening methods can be daunting, learning some fundamental soil management concepts will set the foundations for success.

South Dakota native grassland with a variety of plants and grasses growing.

Grassland Fertilization: Ecology

In the first article in this series, we discussed basic terminology and economics. This article focuses on the ecological impacts of fertilization in various grassland plant communities, including native rangelands and prairies.

Healthy, South Dakota native grassland with a variety of plants and grasses growing.

Grassland Fertilization: Native Pasture Case Studies – McPherson, Deuel, Grant and Clark Counties

Even our best native pastures, rangelands and prairies suffer from at least some level of invasion. Within this reality lies a wide gradient of quality of native grasslands that is largely influenced by past and present management.