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Soil Health

All Soil Health Content

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.

Color-coded map showing the October precipitation outlook for the United States.

2019 October Climate Outlook and Missouri River Forecast

The chances of a wet October increased with the latest climate outlook update, released on September 30, 2019. In the first few days of the month, rain or snow has scattered across much of the state. There hasn’t been a heavy rain or snow event this month. The outlook shows odds leaning towards much of the same pattern in the weeks ahead.

A herd of cattle grazing near a stock pond.

2019 Eastern South Dakota Water Conference to be Held Oct. 16 at South Dakota State University

October 01, 2019

The 2019 Eastern South Dakota Water Conference will be held Oct. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the campus of South Dakota State University in the Volstorff Ballroom of the University Student Union.

Conservation, Grassland, Soil Health, Wildlife

a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.

An aerial view of a soybean field with noticable rows of yellowing plants due to SCN infection.

Early Yellowing in a Soybean Field May Indicate Presence of the Soybean Cyst Nematode

Some portions of soybean fields may show clusters of plants yellowing while the rest of the field is still green. One of the factors that could lead to soybean plants showing early yellowing in clusters is soybean cyst nematode (SCN).

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.”

man holding a small pile of soil in his hands

Recommended Soil Sampling Methods for South Dakota

Soil testing is your best way to evaluate the fertility status of a field or of areas within a field.