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Soil Health

All Soil Health Content

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.

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. 

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.

Cover crops growing in a field of harvested corn.

Utilizing Cover Crops for Grazing: An Assessment on Economic Benefits

Grazing cover crops by cattle provides an option to offset cover crop seed costs and increase farm revenue. To facilitate farmers’ decision making, this article will evaluate the economic profitability from grazing cattle on cover crops using a partial budgeting approach.

A man inspecting a field with salty soil.

Perennial Solutions for Alkali Areas

Reclaiming marginal lands, especially those considered saline or sodic can be very challenging and may take many years to accomplish. The key to turning around salt or alkali areas in your fields, begins with getting a living root established in the affected area.