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Transitioning to Soil Health Systems in Eastern South Dakota Intended for beginners: Where do I start?

Adopting Soil Health Principles on your farm with the emphasis on no-till as the base practice

Tillage seems to be a rite of passage for most young people learning to farm. Cultivating the soil is an ancient practice that had many purposes that included loosening the soil for seed placement, weed control and nutrient incorporation. In modern agriculture, we have technology that enables us to place seeds without loosening the soil, herbicides that have high probabilities of success and chemical technologies and knowledge to protect surface applied nutrients and a realization of soil microbial and plant interactions that improve nutrient uptake. The need for tillage is gone, yet society keeps producing large, powerful tractors to pull very large cultivators. W.C. Lowdermilk, in Conquest of the Land Through 7000 Years said “any nation’s most valuable resource is the soil. Food production and availability leads to stability and opposite to chaos and war”. Protecting our soil resource has many sustainable benefits and is accomplished by adopting the soil health principles for farm management.