Skip to main content

Soil Health

All Soil Health Content

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.

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.

An unplanted field with weeds growing throughout.

Managing Weed Seed in 2020

Producers need to plan in advance on how to deal with bare fields that contain an overabundance of weeds. Weeds in these fields have deposited significant amount of seeds on the soil surface, which can easily germinate when adequate moisture and temperature are available.

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.

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.

Soil Health

hand examining clump of soil organic matter

SDSU Extension to Host Mitchell Soil Health Workshop on February 13

January 13, 2020

SDSU Extension will host a Soil Health Workshop on February 13, at the Highland Conference Center in Mitchell. The event will focus on climate, weather, livestock integration, cover crops, carbon-to-nitrogen ratios and the benefits of manure for building organic matter and carbon in soil.

Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Soil Health, Soybean, Corn, Wheat

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.

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.

Corn, Wheat, Crop Management, Conservation, Soil Health