Soil Health

Using Cover Crops Leads to Significant Gains in Water Quality

The ability of cover crops to stimulate microbes deep in the soil of farm fields leads to significant gains in water quality but does not necessarily increase the capacity of soil to store carbon, according to a recently published study from Iowa State University scientists. The study, published in the academic journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy, analyzed soil samples that had undergone a wide range of long-term treatments.
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Improve Soil Health & Quality with Cover Crops

Planting cover crops and returning crop residues (stover) to the soil both add nutrients and improve overall soil quality. These practices are common with producers across the Midwest and have been recently studied by researchers to identify how they impact the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
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Greatest Soil Health Benefits Come From No-Till, Cover Crop Combo

For the last several years, many farmers have been adopting practices to improve the “soil health” of their fields. Often this includes no-till or reduced tillage, and the introduction of cover crops. While the basic soil health concept is relatively uniform, the way the practices are implemented is often very different from operation to operation. Read more in this article from Ohio's Country Journal.
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Cover Crops Improve Water Infiltration in Soil

Nebraska’s Andrea Basche and a colleague have found that planting perennials and cover crops may substantially improve the ability of soils to soak up heavy rainfall, potentially alleviating the most severe effects of flooding and drought. A synthesis of 89 studies across six continents has helped clarify which agricultural practices hold water when it comes to helping soils soak up precipitation — a factor critical to mitigating floods, outlasting drought and stabilizing crop yields. Read more in this story from The Fence Post.
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To Till or Not to Till

The wet harvest last fall and continued saturated soil conditions this past spring in many parts of the country created a scenario that left many farmers scratching their heads: “To till or not to till…that is the question.”
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No-Till, Cover Crops Key to Building Healthy Soil

On a windy autumn day, Dan Leininger, a water conservationist with the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District, stands in a field of ripe soybeans on the northeast side of York, Neb. While the beans are impressive, Leininger gets down on one knee to show what he’s most proud of. Find out more in this article from the York News-Times.
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Soil, Cover Crops Key to Saving Family Farms

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Read more in this article from Yes magazine.
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From the Web

Soil Sense Podcast Talks About Farmers Building Soil Health

This 15-episode podcast series weaves together the stories of how farmers are utilizing soil health building practices on their farms in conjunction with help from their trusted advisers and using partnerships with researchers and Extension specialists to better understand their systems. This series touches on the soil health movement in North Dakota with ideas on both successes and failures.
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Attend the 2020 National Strip-Tillage Conference

Join the most innovative, forward-thinking strip-till farmers, agronomists and researchers today at the 7th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference in Omaha, Neb., August 6-7, 2020. Discover practical cover cropping techniques and hundreds of proven ideas to boost your strip-till yields and save on input costs.

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