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Soil Health

All Soil Health Content

Ringneck pheasant nestled in winter rangeland.

Natural Resources & Conservation

South Dakota is home to many unique land, water and wildlife resources. Our experts and partners offer research-based information through to help people enjoy, preserve and profit from these natural resources.

aerial view of the James River Valley

Every Acre Counts

Every Acre Counts improves production practices for greater profitability.

A wheat field at sunset.

Water Use by Plant Stage

Over the growing season, solar radiation, air temperature and plant size are the dominant factors in determining evaporative demand and the rate of water use by wheat. Water use can vary dramatically on a day-to day basis, depending on climate and wheat health.

Benefits of Wheat in a Corn Soybean Rotation

Crop rotation has long been recognized as a standard component of integrated pest management in cropping systems.

A hand examining a wheat plant in a wheat field

Improving Protein Content in Wheat

Wheat producers in South Dakota always strive to grow a premium product. Quality in wheat often depends on test weight and protein content.

A field of green winter wheat.

Planning for Quality in Wheat

Excess moisture and limited field days have made it difficult for producers to add nitrogen to wheat fields this year. This could be a concern, as nitrogen contributes to both yield and protein. This year, it may pay off to take tissue and soil tests from questionable wheat fields to help with nitrogen application decisions.

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 green combine that has caught fire in the field.

Avoiding Field Fires During Fall Harvest

With dry and drought conditions in the late summer and fall, crops dry down rapidly and harvest starts early. The climate outlook may be favorable for an uninterrupted run at harvest. However, the risk of fires during harvest is always a concern for farmers.

Green cereal rye crop growing throughout a harvested corn field.

Thinking Cover Crops? Winter Rye Between Corn and Soybean

Although the 2021 growing season in has been impacted by widespread drought and record-high temperatures, recent rain events have brought planting cover crops back into the conversation.

Hail-damaged soybean field with storm clouds in the background.

Making the Best of Hail-Damaged Row Crops

Late-season hail damage can leave growers wondering what to do next. Before deciding what to do with your hail-damaged fields, take some time to consider a variety of management options.