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Content by Anthony Bly

Four photos depicting field progress for winter wheat, oats, corn, and soybean as of May 29, 2020.

Follow the Fields Tour

Follow the field crops during the 2020 growing season.

A group of black heifer calves in a feedlot.

Using Feedlot Manure as a Crop Nutrient Source

Factsheet that reviews the steps to obtain a manure application rate based on crop need, soil and manure testing.

man holding a small pile of soil in his hands

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

Fact sheet for beginners on where to start transitioning to soil health systems in eastern South Dakota.

A field of no-till soybeans and corn.

Crop Residue, Cover Crops Impact on Soil Health Parameters

Interest in no-till and cover crops has been on the rise among South Dakota crop producers. In 2019, half of South Dakota crop ground was under no-till management and about 900,000 acres were planted to cover crops.

A green tractor pulling a fertilizer wagon through a field of alfalfa.

Fertilizing Forages in South Dakota

Spring is a busy time for South Dakota farmers and ranchers with planting, calving, and other field preparations. Soil sampling and fertilizing pastures, alfalfa, or other forages might be overlooked.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.