Choosing the right cover crop to protect the soil

American Society of Agronomy – Farmers around the world are keen to protect their most important asset: their soil. The soil supports and enriches their crops. But the relatively thin layer of topsoil can readily wash away into streams, carrying unwanted nutrients with it. Enter cover crops. Cover crops are inedible plants grown during the […]

How to identify low soil organic matter

By Matt McIntosh Glacier FarmMedia – Did your fields show a lot of crusting this planting season? Was there standing water where there shouldn’t be? These and other indicators, say provincial soil health experts, mean your soil organic matter (SOM) levels could use some attention. Crusting is normal – but should it be? “Crusting is […]

Organic crop practices affect long-term soil health

Cornell University – Prior organic farming practices and plantings can have lasting outcomes for future soil health, weeds and crop yields, according to new Cornell University research. The study recently published in the journal Agriculture Systems also breaks down how specific components of soil health – such as the abundance and activity of soil animals and soil […]

Cover crops, compost and carbon

American Society of Agronomy – Soil organic matter has long been known to benefit farmers. The carbon in this organic matter acts as a food source for soil microbes, which then provide other nutrients to the crops grown. Microbes, insects and small soil critters produce materials that can improve soil structure and water retention. It’s […]

Getting down and dirty about soil health

By Laura Rance Editorial director, Glacier FarmMedia It’s a dirty business, teaching farmers about soil — enough to drive Jay Fuhrer to eating cheese balls. As the “soil health specialist” prepared his show-and-tell before a Saskatoon audience recently, he joked the only reason he buys cheese balls at his local grocer’s is because they come […]