The Five Principles of Soil Health

Soil Cover

Keep plant residues on the soil surface. Look down, what percentage of your soil is protected by residue? Erosion needs to be minimized before you can start building soil health.

Limited Disturbance

Minimize tillage as much as possible. You will start building soil aggregates, pore spaces, soil biology, and organic matter.

Diversity

Try to mimic nature. Use cool and warm season grasses and broad leaf plants as much as possible, with three or more crops and cover crops in rotation. Grassland and cropland plant diversity increases soil and animal health.

Living Roots

Keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil. Cover crops can add carbon to the soil, providing a great food source for micro-organisms. Start small to find the best fit for your operation.

Integrating Livestock

Fall/winter grazing of cover crops and crop residue increases livestock’s plane of nutrition at a time when pasture forage quality can be low, increases the soil biological activity on cropland, and improves nutrient cycling. Proper grassland management improves soil health.

News & Events

FFA Regional Land Judging Winners Receive Scholarships

FFA Regional Land Judging Winners Receive Scholarships

From South Dakota FFA Foundation The South Dakota FFA Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of four $100 scholarships for students placing first in one of the four SD Regional Land Evaluation Competitions this fall. The 2021 scholarship recipients are: Rowdy...

Our Amazing Legacy

Our Amazing Legacy

Soil health practices can make farms and ranches more productive and more profitable, but that isn't the only reason to use conservation methods. Improved soil health means improved operational resilience and sustainability, and that means it's more likely the farm or...

Video series offers tips on harvesting failed crops as forage

Video series offers tips on harvesting failed crops as forage

As South Dakota continues to see warmer than average temperatures and limited rainfall, many producers across the state are planning to harvest failed grain crops as much-needed forage for livestock. While drought-stressed crops can still be used as forage, there are...