As a landowner or farm operator, you face many decisions when managing your natural resources. When it comes to improving soil health, consider installing the appropriate conservation practices.
A few basic principles will help improve the health of your soil:
minimally disturb the soil
keep a living cover throughout the year to feed the soil
diversify as much as possible using crop rotations and cover crops
The Steele SWCD has knowledgeable staff that would be happy to help!
Simply put cover crops are a crop grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil. They often consist of a combination of grasses, legumes, and forbes.
Cover crops provide many benefits including:
• Reduces soil erosion. • Improves soil biology. • Improves water infiltration.
• Traps, sequesters nutrients. • Reduces weed competition.
• Provides livestock grazing. • Increases soil organic matter
The Steele SWCD offers a cost-share opportunity for those wishing to try cover crops. Details on this program can be received by contacting the office.
Strip-till is tilling the row where the seed and/or fertilizer will be placed, keeping the residue between the rows undisturbed.
Strip-till provides many benefits including:
Warmer soil in the spring
More precise application of fertilizer
Reduces soil compaction
Improves soil health
Better adoption of cover crops
No-till means the soil is left undisturbed by tillage and the residue is left on the soil surface. It is the most effective soil conservation system.
The benefits of no-till are similar to those offered by a strip-till system. They include:
Reduced Soil Compaction
Reduced Soil Moisture Loss
Improved Soil Health
Steele SWCD offers an incentive program for those interested in strip-till or no-till. Please contact the office for details.