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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.

A teardrop shaped tan tick with eight legs and brown markings on a white background.

Winter Ticks in South Dakota

Winter ticks, also called moose ticks, are unlike other tick species because they are active during the winter months.

A herd of sheep foraging on leafy spurge in a grassland.

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

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.

Group of adults and children playing doubleball game in a field

Dakota & Lakota Traditional Games Resource

Play these games to promote the development of physical endurance, coordination, dexterity, quickness and strength.

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.

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.