Speak on the Benefits of Cover Crops & Soil Health
and agronomists around the world are focusing on soil health as a better more
profitable way to farm. Building soil organic matter and soil biology is key to improving soil health.
Farmers are finding that true
no-till and the extensive use of cover crops is important to increasing soil
organic matter and to increasing farm profits.
Add animal manure and the results are better and
faster. Farmers have found that tilling does just the opposite. Tillage burns
what organic matter that doesn't wash away and the required input costs erode
farm profits. Farmers
who have increased their soil organic matter have reported many physical and
chemical improvements to the soil. They claim these physical and chemical
improvements have made their crops more efficient; requiring less water, less
fertilizer, and less pesticide with yields above their county average.
Some soil health farmers
say that they may not have the highest yields but they have the highest farm
profits. There is an abundance of information on the web discussing soil health and its
benefits along with stories by farmers of what they are
doing to improve it and how they are profiting from it. Several links to soil
health are listed below. The
pictures below show the benefits of conservation practices that build soil
organic matter and nurture soil biology.
A diversity of living plants growing in the soil year round not only protect the soil from rain but they do several important things to improve soil
what is Soil Health?
More Links to Soil health
Follows the Soil Health Introduction
How healthy soil
Discover the cover
Cover Crops Profitably
(a 300 page publication about cover crops including detail narratives
of various plants commonly use used and charts that compare the performance,
traits, advantages, and disadvantages of different plants):
GreenCoverSeed Seed Calculator
https://greencoverseed.com/legacy/smartmix/index.htm a great tool to aid
with mixes including helpful narratives on understanding the posible
strengths and weaknesses of various plants used as cover crops
Soil Health Soil Test Lab:
Healthy soils resist
healthy farms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qPu0xING8w
- Eco-System over Fertilizer for Good
Frank Gibbs NRCS Resource Soil Scientist
sharing from a root pit:
Special Issue: Building Better Soils - February 2013 Several good articles on
soil health in this John Deere Mag.:
articles on understanding the complexity of the soil and soil health.
NRCS video library on soil health:
For more information about Soil Health Biology visit the
online Soil Biology Primer, an introduction to the living component of soil and how it contributes to agricultural productivity, air and water quality. The Primer includes chapters describing the soil food web and its relationship to soil health, and chapters about soil bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and earthworms.
Web soil Survey:
(a great tool for developing personalized soil maps
of your farm with all kinds of personalized soil reports, or just a great way to
cal. acres of land in a farm, a field, or a specific area of a field: