Four Strategies to Improve Your Field’s Soil Health
What Is Soil Health?
The definition of soil health is changing. For many decades, the study of soil health emphasized soil’s physical and chemical properties. Today, soil scientists strive to include biological aspects as well, since many of the processes that influence soil occur because of living organisms.
This shift reflects the desire of farmers, researchers, and agricultural professionals to protect the long-term sustainability of soils, water, and cropping systems. is publication provides four basic strategies to help improve the health of your soil.
ese four strategies are based on four basic soil health principles outlined by the USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS):
1. Minimize soil disturbance
2. Keep soil covered
3. Maximize plant diversity
4. Maximize the period of living root growth
When you consider how to improve your soil’s health, keep in mind the natural characteristics of your soil, including its texture, natural drainage class, and slope.
Because these factors are often unique to your location, soil health can mean different things. In other words, healthy soil in northern Indiana is going to be di erent from healthy soil in southern Indiana due to the inherent nature of the soil. Characteristics like these can in uence the timing and degree of your soil’s response to the strategies we describe in more detail below.