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A group of cattle grazing on crop residue.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems

An integrated crop-livestock system can provide an alternative management strategy that benefits producer’s income, soil health, and the environment—all while increasing production.

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.

Barry H. Dunn

Feb. 16 Precision Agriculture Workshop to Highlight South Dakota Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic

December 18, 2018

Ag producers and pheasant enthusiasts are invited to learn how cutting-edge farming practices can work to provide more income while enhancing habitat. The Precision Agriculture Workshop at the 2018 National Pheasant Fest in Sioux Falls offer insights into the industry on Friday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

screened image of South Dakota State University campus with News text

Managing Soil: Maximizing Profit 2018 Workshop to be Held Nov. 29 in Sioux Falls

December 18, 2018

SDSU Extension in collaboration with the Soil & Water Conservation Society will host Managing Soil: Maximizing Profit 2018 workshop in Sioux Falls, November 29, 2018 at the SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center (Myklebust Rec. Center, 2001 E. 8th St.) Registration begins at 8:30 and the workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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.

two black beetles rolling a ball of dung

An identification guide to common Dung Beetles of South Dakota

A guide of common dung beetles of South Dakota.

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.

Two side-by-side fields. The left field is planted with perennial grass. The right field is bare with salty soil exposed.

Managing Weeds While Transforming Marginal Land Into Perennial Forages Production

There are currently millions acres across South Dakota impacted by saline and sodic conditions. Research has shown that salt-tolerant perennial grasses are a possible way to bring land back into production.