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Soil Health

All Soil Health Content

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.

hand examining clump of soil organic matter
Feb 13

2020 Soil Health @ Mitchell

SDSU Extension will host a soil health meeting on Feb. 13 at 9:30 AM CST at the Highway Conference Center (2000 Conference Way, Mitchell, SD 57301).

Soil Health, Cover Crops

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

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.

Corn, Soil Fertility, Soil Health, Cover Crops, Crop Management, Conservation

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.

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 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 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.