Microorganisms are very small forms of life that can sometimes live as single cells, although many also form colonies of cells. A microscope is usually needed to see individual cells of these organisms.
While the most well‐known nematodes are pests occupying and feeding on plant roots (such as the lesion nematode and the soybean cyst nematode), in fact most nematodes are beneficial organisms. Nematodes are extremely important because they consume a diverse array of food sources, which places them at multiple trophic levels in the soil food web.
Particulate Organic Matter
Particulate organic matter (POM) fraction referred to in this document comprises all soil organic matter (SOM) particles less than 2 mm and greater than 0.053 mm in size (Cambardella and Elliot, 1992). POM is biologically and chemically active and is part of the labile (easily decomposable) pool of soil organic matter (SOM).
Total Organic Carbon
Total organic carbon (TOC) is the carbon (C) stored in soil organic matter (SOM). Organic carbon (OC) enters the soil through the decomposition of plant and animal residues, root exudates, living and dead microorganisms, and soil biota.
Soil enzymes increase the reaction rate at which plant residues decompose and release plant available nutrients. The substance acted upon by a soil enzyme is called the substrate.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) release from the soil surface is referred to as soil respiration. This CO2 results from several sources, including aerobic microbial decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) to obtain energy for their growth and functioning (microbial respiration), plant root and faunal respiration, and eventually from the dissolution of carbonates in soil solution.
2024 Soil Health Conference Registration Open!
The 2024 Soil Health School will be held Jan. 23-24 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, SD! Keynote speakers include Jay Fuhrer, Jerry Hatfield, Glenn Elzinga, and Zach Smith. There will be many other speakers, breakout sessions, and opportunties to network and socialize! Join us and be a part of our 2024 Soil Health Conference!
News & Events
By Stan Wise PIERRE, SD – It’s often said that the best time to start improving your land was 20 years ago, but the second-best time is right now. That statement might be harder for ranchers to swallow with winter on their doorstep, nothing growing in their pastures,...
By Stan Wise PIERRE, SD – Agricultural producers often base their land management decisions on the living things they can see above the ground – crops, livestock, forage, weeds, insects, wildlife, etc. However, new research is showing they should also consider life...
As part of the 2024 Soil Health Conference, the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition has announced two exciting contests for students in South Dakota. The student video and essay contests have been designed to give students the opportunity to learn more about soil...