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.


Cover Crops & Carbon:Nitrogen Ratios

These numbers can have a direct affect on our nitrogen use and can help us be better managers in the context of overall soil health. There’s more to it than just understanding the C:N of a particular cash crop or cover crop residue. That’s where microbes come in to play. Read more in this article from Lancaster Farming.
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Potassium Levels in Soil Decreasing

Nationwide, there has been a major trend in soil test results — a drop in potassium. Andy Wycislo, an agronomist who works with Waypoint Analytical, said there is no identified root cause for why potassium levels are dropping over the last few years, and while some other nutrients have seen decreases over the past couple of years, this one stands out. Read more in this article from the Rock Island Argus Dispatch.
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[Video] Applying Liquid Manure to Cover Crops

Michigan State University Environmental Management Extension Educator Sarah Fronczak explains how cover crops retain nutrients in the soil, when liquid manure should be applied, the benefits of applying manure in the fall, and more.
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Oklahoma Farmer Plants Vegetables With Cover Crops

This year’s cover crop of barley and wheat is designed to put nutrients back into this plot of Western Oklahoma soil. Picking through a small box full of small seeds, farmer Jimmy Emmons points out, “There’s squash in here. There’s peas in here.” Read more in this article from Oklahoma News 4.
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Are You Familiar with the Haney Soil Test?

The Haney soil health test, named for USDA scientist Rick Haney, includes more than a dozen different soil test values. These include standard macro- and micro-nutrients for plant consumption, but what’s different about the Haney test is that it also estimates nutrients for microbial consumption, focusing on how much carbon (C ) and nitrogen (N) is in the soil. Read more in this article from University of Minnesota Extension.
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Cover Crops Can Help Counteract Climate Change

Major farm and livestock groups held a press conference in February to project a united voice on an issue they’ve long avoided. The coalition leaders said they wanted to join the fight against climate change rather than remain cast as villains avoiding the responsibility. Read more in this article from Roll Call.
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Study: Cover Crops Improve Soil Health

A five-year study by a New Mexico State University researcher found that integrating cover crops, such as legumes and grasses, into existing cropping systems can increase the biological health of soils on hot and dry semiarid lands. Read more in this article from the Las Cruces Sun News.
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Attend the 2020 Virtual 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 being held 100% online, August 6-8, 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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