Soil Health 
Practices

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!  

Cover Crops

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. 

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No-Till/Strip-Till

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: 

  • Reduces erosion 

  • 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 Erosion

  • Save Time

  • Reduced Costs

  • 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.  

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