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Soil Management

Healthy land and high crop yield starts with how you manage the soil. When understanding your soil to begin a management plan, consider the key elements that contribute to soil health such as soil texture, slope, and natural drainage class. Well-structured soils allow for water infiltration, aeration, root penetration and ultimately better plant growth. There are four main strategies for you to begin improving your soil health:

  • Minimize disturbance — no till or minimal till helps to keep the soil structure intact natural aggregates, mycorrhizal systems, earthworms, and lowers the soil temperature to increase organic matter.
  • Keep Soil Covered — leaving residues after harvest or leaf litter on the soil adds a protective layer and nutritious organic matter, as well as rotating various species of crops throughout seasons such as a winter wheat planting, can ensure that no bare soil is left vulnerable to erosion and compaction.
  • Maximize plant diversity — adding cover crops such as native grasses and forbs between crop rotations and harvest seasons can increase the biodiversity of nutrients in the soil and beneficial wildlife. Cover crops will also fix nitrogen even in fallow months.
  • Maximize the period of living root growth — managing the nutrients in the soil will maximize the growing window for plants by allowing plants to better uptake fertilizers and herbicides, this also creates adequate pore space for worms and water movement throughout soil.

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