Skip to main content

Search

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.

hand examining clump of soil organic matter

Managing Soil: Maximizing Profit Workshop to be Held Dec. 3 in Colton

November 19, 2019

SDSU Extension will host the “Managing Soil: Maximizing Profit” workshop in Colton on Dec. 3.

SDSU Extension to Host 2020 No-Till Event in Wall, S.D.

December 11, 2019

Join us for a free event that will highlight building soil and integrating livestock to farm systems in western SD. Registration is requested, event is free.

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 green tractor, pulling a red, high-clearance planter through a field of emerging corn.

Interseeding Cover Crops Effect on Corn and Soybean Production: 2019

Incorporating cover crops into our cropping systems and moving from conventional tillage to no-till can improve soil organic matter, soil structure, and water and nutrient holding capacity of our soils.