Soil Health

This topic is dedicated to providing information about how various cover crop species and varieties improve soil biology and soil health to help growers meet their production and environmental goals. Explanations of soil health processes, terminology and trends will also be shared here to provide a greater understanding of the link between cover crops and improved soil biology.

ARTICLES

Soil Health Practices Help Minnesota Farmer

As more and more farms find different ways to utilize their land, one Minnesota farm is using soil health practices to help them out. Connor McCormick, who farms just outside of Caledonia along with his dad Kevin, said their first time using a cover crop – cereal rye – turned out pretty good. Read more in this article from the Caledonia Argus (Houston County, MN).
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Storing Carbon in the Soil a Win-Win for Farmers

In 2019, a UN report laid out a bitter truth: The current food system is fueling the destruction of Earth’s forests — and humanity must overhaul how we grow and ship food to stop climate breakdown. But countries are struggling to keep farming sustainable while meeting the mounting demand for production — which must increase by between 25 percent and 70 percent by 2050 to feed growing populations. Read more in this article from Conservation International.
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Pennycress Doubles as Cover Crop, Cash Crop

Cover crops are an investment in soil health, but what if they paid off as a cash crop as well? Researchers at the University of Minnesota are aiming for just that as they shape pennycress into a suitable food and fuel product that can fit in with the typical upper Midwest crop rotation. Read more in this article from The Courier (Waterloo, Iowa).
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More Tips About Using Cover-Crop Mixes in No-Till Systems

Twenty-one more no-tillers share how they’re using cover crop ‘cocktails’ of every size to improve soil tilth, shade out weeds, capture and recycle soil nutrients and help reduce erosion.
Twenty-one more no-tillers share how they’re using cover crop ‘cocktails’ of every size to improve soil tilth, shade out weeds, capture and recycle soil nutrients and help reduce erosion.
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Cover Crops Strategies Podcast

[Podcast] Earthworms: Unsung Heroes of the Soil

Seeing earthworms is one of the hallmarks of healthy soil, but Paul Reed Hepperly says that their role is much broader than previously thought.
Seeing earthworms is one of the hallmarks of healthy soil, but Paul Reed Hepperly says that their role is much broader than previously thought.
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McElroy Cover

Early Maturities, Cover Crops Can Help Tough No-Till Soils Flourish

Research on two southern Illinois farms shows the potential of using early maturity crops to establish covers sooner and boost yields in poorly drained, drought-prone, underperforming fields.
Randy McElroy sees the tough soils sometimes from behind sunglasses, because when the ground dries out completely it can be a white as a sand beach in Florida.
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No-Till Fields Need Phosphorus, Cover Crops

Left untilled, fields gain organic matter and maintain high yields, but there’s a tradeoff to consider when deciding not to till. Fields that aren’t tilled are less likely to erode, sending soil and the components of fertilizer, including phosphorus, downstream, a threat to water quality. Read more in this article from The Ohio State University Extension.
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Economic Incentives of Soil Health are Growing

As soil health takes on a higher profile with food companies and consumers, various avenues are emerging for farmers to collect environmental incentives. The growing number of soil health programs can seem overwhelming, but one farmer and soil health advocate believes it’s a case of more is better. Read more in this article from Farm Talk.
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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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