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

[Podcast] Conservation and Innovation with NRCS Chief, Terry Cosby

For this episode of the <em>No-Till Farmer</em> podcast, brought to you by Montag Manufacturing, we caught up with chief of the NRCS, Terry Cosby to hear about how his childhood experience on the farm shaped his views on conservation, his goals for the agency during his tenure, his thoughts on the Biden Administration’s plan to have 30% of U.S. lands and waters under conservation by the year 2030, and much more.
For this episode of the No-Till Farmer podcast, brought to you by Montag Manufacturing, we caught up with chief of the NRCS, Terry Cosby to hear about how his childhood experience on the farm shaped his views on conservation, his goals for the agency during his tenure, his thoughts on the Biden Administration’s plan to have 30% of U.S. lands and waters under conservation by the year 2030, and much more.
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Food for Thought: Is Carbon the ‘Crop’ of the Future?

An increasing awareness and concern about the environment, changes in government policy, America’s re-entry into the Paris Agreement and a robust demand for carbon offsets all point toward an appetite for a different type of agricultural crop — carbon. But many questions on the efficacy of carbon farming and its worth to the farmer are as yet unanswered, says Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
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No-Till Farmer Influencers & Innovators

[Podcast] Benefitting from Long-Term No-Till with Jerry Grigar, Part 1

In this episode of the<em> No-Till Farmer</em> Influencers & Innovators podcast, brought to you by Martin Industries, Frank Lessiter talks with Retired Michigan State Agronomist Jerry Grigar about many of the lessons learned from decades of working with farmers to improve no-till techniques and equipment.
In this episode of the No-Till Farmer Influencers & Innovators podcast, brought to you by Martin Industries, Frank Lessiter talks with Retired Michigan State Agronomist Jerry Grigar about many of the lessons learned from decades of working with farmers to improve no-till techniques and equipment.
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Bryan Jorgensen

Encouraging Beneficial Insects for Better Soil Health and Higher Profits

The number of insect species on your farm directly correlates with profits, according to Ecdysis Foundation director, Jonathan Lundgren. This idea of increasing insect life to benefit agricultural operations is paying off for producer Bryan Jorgensen, partner and chief agronomy operations officer at Jorgensen Land & Cattle, says the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition.
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[Podcast] Terminating Covers the Right Way

For this episode of the <em>No-Till Farmer</em> podcast, brought to you by Montag Manufacturing, we're featuring Josh Lofton, Cropping System Specialist with Oklahoma State University. Lofton will discuss the timing of cover crop termination, differences in termination timing for various cover crop species, improper cover crop termination, and more.
For this episode of the No-Till Farmer podcast, brought to you by Montag Manufacturing, we're featuring Josh Lofton, Cropping System Specialist with Oklahoma State University. Lofton will discuss the timing of cover crop termination, differences in termination timing for various cover crop species, improper cover crop termination, and more.
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3 Signs Your Soil Microbes May Be Out of Balance

Soil microbes may be hidden from view below ground but clues to how they’re affecting soil health can be readily seen by the naked eye, says molecular biologist Dave Stark.
It's become widely understood that a single teaspoon of soil contains thousands of different species of microbes, and more than 1 billion individuals. But imbalances in the microbiome can cause problems. The following are three visual clues that your soil microbiome may be unbalanced.
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5 No-Till Lessons with Chris Teachout

Utilizing on-farm research, the Shenandoah, Iowa, grower leaves no stone unturned in his quest to get beyond the basics and boost biomass production and soil health.
Since the 1980s, Chris Teachout and his family have been using conservation practices on their farm, and the operation has been no-tilled for the last two decades.
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Heavy Rains Help No-Tiller Promote Practice to Vegetable Processor

Delaware row-crop and vegetable grower’s “all in” adoption of no-till, cover crops and planting green is making positive changes to his soil, his yields and his bottom line.

Jay Baxter, a fourth-generation farmer in Delaware, says a couple of well-timed torrential rains became ‘ah hah! moments’ that ultimately led him to switch all of his cash crop production to no-till with the use of cover crops.


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No-Till Farmer Influencers & Innovators

[Podcast] Barry Fisher on Promoting No-Till and Covers with the NRCS

In this episode of the<em> No-Till Farmer</em> Influencers & Innovators podcast, brought to you by Martin Industries, Frank Lessiter talks with agronomist Barry Fisher about his lengthy career and the changes in no-till equipment and strategies he’s witnessed over the years.
In this episode of the No-Till Farmer Influencers & Innovators podcast, brought to you by Martin Industries, Frank Lessiter talks with agronomist Barry Fisher about his lengthy career and the changes in no-till equipment and strategies he’s witnessed over the years.
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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

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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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Balancing Insecticide Use And Soil Health Through An IPM Approach - John Tooker - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Integrated Pest Management is more than just knowing what to spray and when, John Tooker says. The Penn State University entomologist says no-tillers need to think more broadly about their approach to insect control to consider how use of insecticides impact soil health, onfarm diversity of beneficial insects and whole farming systems.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Improving Soil Structure, Reducing Compaction Naturally Within No-Till - Jim Hoorman - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Long-term studies show soil compaction reduces yields by 30%. Jim Hoorman says poor soil structure and compaction are common, especially where conventional tillage has been used extensively, but even no-tillers often see little improvement or slow gains in soil structure.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Where Plants Thrive, Soils Are Healthy (And Understanding Why That Is) - Jill Clapperton - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

When you know what lives and works in the soil, Jill Clapperton says it’s much easier to understand how no-till and crop rotation work together to regenerate and maintain healthy, productive soil.

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EVENTS

Virtual

Northern Soil Compaction Conference

6/22/21
Online
Do you feel like soil compaction is squeezing your yields? Are you wondering what you can do about it? The University of Minnesota Extension is proud to partner with Manitoba Ag and Resource Development and North Dakota State University to bring you the Northern Soil Compaction Conference. Read More

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