Understanding and practicing good soil health improves soil quality and productivity, is better for the environment and can lead to more sustainable crop productivity. The nutrient cycle is slightly different in a healthy soil versus one that does not have the same characteristics. For example, a long term no-till/cover crop system will have better soil health characteristics than a conventionally tilled field without cover crops. Listen in as presenter Doug Peterson, NRCS, explains what practicing soil health means to your nutrient application practices and its impact on water quality.

1 CEU in Soil and Water Managment

Presenter:Doug Peterson, Iowa/Missouri Regional Soil Health Specialist, National Soil Health Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Illinois– 45% Nitrogen reduction goal by 2035
Pasture has high load reduction rate – Why is that?
  • Is it that they don’t apply nitrogen? – no they probably apply some
Practices that do the best to reduce nutrient losses are those that meet most of our soil health principles:
  • Maximize living roots
  • Minimize disturbance
  • Maximize diversity
  • Maximize cover
Biggest challenge for increased adoption of cover crops:
  • Lack of understanding of basic soil function
  • Lack of understanding of biological nutrient cycle (the difference of a nutrient cycle in a healthy soil vs. unhealthy soil)

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