Soil Health

Soil Health
View the secret underground world of soil livestock —including beneficial bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi and earthworms — that are essential to building healthy no-tilled soils and reducing your cost of production.

ARTICLES

News Release

No-Till 'Influencers' Invited to Apply for American Farmland Trust's Advanced Soil Health Training

AFT will sponsor and train soil health advisors who can share their expertise with their communities to support the scaling-up of climate-smart agricultural practices
American Farmland Trust's one-year Advanced Soil Health Training course is made up of four two-day in-person, in-region training sessions in the Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, New York, and New England.
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Tillage Proves Most Damaging Factor to Beneficial Fungi in Soil

Soils act as vast reservoirs for the Earth's carbon, and even a minor alteration in the soil's carbon content can have a profound effect on the stability of our atmosphere. Scientists have recently recognized the substantial carbon storage capacity within soil fungal networks, particularly the mycorrhizal mycelial network. Up to 36% of annual global carbon emissions are stored within this network.
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Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship

‘It’s All About Saving the Planet’: No-Till Living Legend Takes Care of Land at All Costs

Ray McCormick, No-Till Farmer’s 2024 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow, fights for conservation practices in his home state of Indiana & beyond
No-Till Living Legend Ray McCormick will do just about anything for conservation. Whether it’s turning farmland into wetlands or buying an electric Ford Lightning F-150 pickup truck, McCormick makes decisions based on what’s best for the environment.
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No-Till 101

Buffett Foundation Supports Ukrainian Farmers with Equipment, Financial Aid

The conservation-focused foundation has sent over $500 million in humanitarian, financial & agricultural aid to Ukraine since early 2022
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Ukrainian farmers have been farming through dangerous — and sometimes deadly — conditions. During the summer of 2022, Russian forces occupied 22% of Ukraine’s farmland, impacting 28% of the country’s winter crops and 18% of its summer crops, according to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
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IMAGE GALLERIES

Pulse Crops Amplify Production and Profits

Gordon Stoner no-tills his 12,000 acres of durum, green field peas, lentils, flax and corn in Outlook, Mont. The 22-year no-till veteran moved from a wheat-fallow rotation to pulse crops and has seen his soils and bottom line both greatly improve.

For more information on Stoner’s operation, read the What I’ve Learned From No-Tilling article: Diversity, No-Till and Continuous Cropping Bring Big Impacts to Bottom Line, published in November 2016. (Subscription)

PRODUCTS

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Understanding Soil Fertility for Higher Yields

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$15.95
This special report was put together to help farmers understand soil fertility and the connection with crop yields. From Neal Kinsey’s explanation of how to nurture soils so they become a thriving, productive system to the importance of sulfur to identifying nutrient imbalances on real-life soil tests, the topics covered illuminate today’s generally accepted understanding of soil fertility.                                                                              
    
                                                     
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Supercharging Soil Biology for Better No-Till Productivity

Supercharging Soil Biology for Better No-Till Productivity

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$15.95
Discover techniques, practices and technologies available that can help you to improve soil biology and work with the environment to improve the productivity of your farm operation. View
SoilBiologyBoostPackage

Soil Biology Boost Package

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$44.85
$29.95
$14.90 (33%)
This special package gives you best practices to ensure a balanced and diverse soil system that promotes maximum yields year after year. Learn dozens of ways to improve the health and diversity of the life under your feet so you can farm with more productivity and profitability. View
NNTC16 Audio Presentations

How Can We Evaluate Soil Biological Properties for a Better Understanding of Soil Health? - Lance Gunderson - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Soil is teaming with life. Billions of bacteria and miles of fungal filaments act as micronutrient stores and miniature highway transport systems that help a soil function to support a healthy plant community. Measuring a soil’s biological system, however, is complex and very different from the more traditional soil testing methods aimed at a soil’s fertility. Tests such as Solvita, Haney, and PLFA help producers evaluate their soil’s biological system and we are now beginning to understand and appreciate what this means for the health and function of our soils. Lance Gunderson, the executive director of soil health and new test development at Ward Laboratories in Kearney, Neb., will introduce these tests, their components and how to interpret the results, along with discussing how on-farm management may influence the soil’s biology and overall health.

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NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Staring Down No-Till Challenges in a Dairy Operation - John Kemmeren - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Faced with farming highly erodible hill ground and a strong desire to improve soil life, John and Dianne Kemmeren began no-tilling on their Bainbridge, N.Y., dairy farm 40 years ago. John explains the challenges they face, how they handle manure from their 200-head dairy herd and how they manage a 3-year rotation of hay, corn and cover crops to keep the soil covered 365 days a year. John also shares how healthy, high organic-matter soils have allowed them to cut fertilizer inputs by 75% while increasing yield, and reviews their double-cropping trial results, the growth of grazing corn, interseeding legumes into sudangrass and the use of Italian ryegrass as a nurse crop.

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NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Turning a Profit and Improving the Health of Thin, Abused Piedmont Soils - Jim Howard - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Thanks to centuries of erosion and tillage, annual dry periods during the growing season, equipment pressure and traffic, the soils in the Piedmont region of North Carolina are thin from abuse. But Jim Howard and his son, Branson, are working to turn that around on their 450-acre no-till corn, wheat and double-cropped soybean operation. Aiming to be a good steward of the land while increasing yields, limiting risk and maintaining profits, Howard shares how multiple crop rotations, cover crops, soil testing, variety selection and a limited equipment lineup are keys to his no-till operation. He also shares the knowledge he’s gained from working with successful farmers during his 30-plus years in agricultural sales.

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NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Measures for Protecting, Building Quality No-Till Soils - Steve Berger - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

The rolling hills and bottomlands of southeastern Iowa are anything but simple to farm, leaving Steve Berger and his father, Dennis, with the challenge of saving their soil while building it up. Through 36 years of no-till, the Bergers have gained a lot of knowledge on how to manage residue within crop production to develop a highly functioning microbial system. The Wellman, Iowa, no-tiller explains the use of cover crops like cereal rye in a corn-soybean rotation and how they utilize hog manure effectively from their farrow-to-finish swine operation — all with the aim of leaving soils better than when the Bergers started farming them.

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Blazing a Path to Profitability with Controlled Traffic Farming

Blazing a Path to Profitability with Controlled Traffic Farming

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$12.95
Have you ever thought about the benefits you could accrue from adding controlled traffic farming (CTF) to your no-till operation? This 24-page report gives you overview of what you need to know about controlled traffic, how CTF can reduce compaction and increase yields and much, much more. View
NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Understanding the Impact of No-Till on Soil Organic Carbon Sequestraion Rates - Kenneth Olson - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

No-till systems have been promoted as a valuable tool to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and reduce soil erosion vs. intensive tillage systems. While numerous approaches to estimate the amounts and rates of SOC sequestration in no-till have been published, Ken Olson says questions abound on the protocol for assessing rates.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Getting A Handle On Tools To Measure The Health Of No-Tilled Soils - Towery and Kok - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Several new tools are available today that can help no-tillers get a better handle on the amount of soil biological activity and adjustments that can be made to their fertility program. Dan Towery, no-till consultant with Ag Conservation Solutions, and Hans Kok, certified crop advisor, will provide details on the workings of several popular tests — the Cornell soil health test, the Solvita test and the PLFA soil test.

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