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Soil Health

All Soil Health Content

A dirt road leading to a winder energy station in the middle of a grassland area.

Understanding Contract Language and Restoring Native Grassland Damage after Energy Development

Energy development on private lands can result in locally heavy land manipulation. Of particular concern is the manipulation of native grasslands and other sensitive areas and how it will affect those areas in the short-and-long-term.

Field with livestock grazing with a crane and wind turbine in the background

Best Management Practices Guide for Restoration of Native Grasslands and Sensitive Sites Resulting from Energy or Industrial Development

A general guide to South Dakota landowners who are considering or who have allowed energy or other industrial development on their property.

Field of mixed cover crops containing oats.

Cover Crop Considerations for 2020

Producers across South Dakota are harvesting small grains. These crops provide an excellent window for adding a cover crop into your rotation.

A group of red and white calves grazing in a field of switchgrass.

Integrating Perennial Crops in Annual Crop Rotations

The Dakota Lakes Research Farm is working to develop cropping systems that include perennial crops, such as switchgrass, big bluestem and alfalfa, to improve long-term soil health and farm productivity.

A heavily tilled field showing signs of severe topsoil loss due to erosion. Next to it, there is a no-till field with no noticeable signs of erosion.

Multiple Rounds of Severe Weather Bring Heavy Rainfall, High Winds, and Soil Erosion

A combination of tillage, no residue, and lack of crop canopy can lead to severe erosion and topsoil loss in the face of extreme weather patterns in the spring. The most effective strategy for producers to adapt to these extreme events is to improve soil health.

A herd of cattle gather around a stock pond on a vast, lush grassland. Courtesy: USDA [CC BY 2.0]

Range Improvements, Grazing Systems and Net Present Value, What is the Right Balance?

As farms and ranches across South Dakota continue to endure increasing costs of production while receiving less cash for grain and livestock marketed; ranch managers must be extra diligent when implementing new range improvements and grazing systems on their ranches.

A father and daughter working on a fence along rangeland.

Strategic and Scenario Planning in Ranching: Conducting a Ranch Inventory

During times of belt-tightening, it’s imperative to make sure all the resources of the ranch are being utilized as efficiently as possible. Conducting a complete ranch inventory is a perfect time for ranch managers to take an in-depth look at their operation.

A stunted planting of corn with purple coloring on its leaves.

Fallow Syndrome: What is it and how do I deal with it?

Fallow syndrome received its name from the dry plains states, where fields routinely benefited from the additional moisture available after a year where the ground was fallowed. Corn sometimes had symptoms of phosphorus deficiency when grown on this previously fallowed ground, thus it received its current name, “fallow syndrome.”

Three South Dakota fields that claimed prevent plant. The first field is planted with a cover crop. The second field has no cover crops, but tillage was completed to control weeds. The third has no cover crops and weeds are growing throughout.

Prevent Plant: Its Effect on Fall and Spring Fertilizing Plans

Driving around South Dakota, you can see the many acres that farmers were not able to plant. Now that fall soil-sampling season is well on its way, many people have questions regarding how different situations of prevented planting will affect soil sampling and fertilizer application needs.

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.