Soil Health Management

              Strategy                                              What does it do?                                          How does it help?

Crop Rotation

Growing a diverse number of crops in a planned sequence in order to increase soil organic matter and biodiversity in the soil.

  • Increases nutrient cycling
  • Manages plant pests (weeds, insects, and diseases)
  • Reduces soil erosion from wind and rain
  • Holds soil moisture Adds diversity so soil microbes can thrive
  • Improves nutrient use efficiency
  • Decreases use of pesticides
  • Improves water quality
  • Conserves water improves plant production

Cover Crop

An un-harvested crop grown as part of planned rotation to provide conservation benefits to the soil.

  • Increases soil organic matter. Prevents soil erosion
  • Conserves soil moisture
  • Increases nutrient cycling
  • Provides nitrogen for plant use
  • Suppresses weeds
  • Reduces compaction
  • Improves crop production
  • Improves water quality
  • Conserves water
  • Improves nutrient use
  • efficiency
  • Decreases use of  pesticides
  • Improves water efficiency to crops.

No Till

A way of growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage.

  • Improves water holding capacity of soils
  • Increases organic matter
  • Reduces soil erosion
  • Reduces energy use
  • Decreases compaction
  • Improves water efficiency
  • Conserves water
  • Improves crop production
  • Improves water quality
  • Saves renewable resources
  • Improves air quality
  • Increases productivity

Mulch Tillage

Using tillage methods where the soil surface is disturbed but maintains a high level of crop residue on the surface.

  • Reduces soil erosion from wind and rain
  • Increases soil moisture for plants
  • Reduces energy use
  • Increases soil organic matter
  • Improves water quality
  • Conserves water
  • Saves renewable resources
  • Improves air quality
  • Improves crop production

Mulching

Applying plant residues or other suitable materials to the soil surface to compensate for loss of residue due to excessive tillage.

  • Reduces erosion from wind and rain
  • Moderates soil temperatures
  • Increases soil organic matter
  • Controls weeds
  • Conserves soil moisture
  • Reduces dust
  • Improves water quality
  • Improves plant productivity
  • Increases crop production
  • Reduces pesticide usage
  • Conserves water
  • Improves air quality

Nutrient Management

Managing soil nutrients to meet crop needs while minimizing the impact on the environment and the soil.

  • Improves the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil
  • Budgets, supplies, and conserves nutrients for plant production
  • Reduces odors and nitrogen emissions
  • Increases plant nutrient uptake
  • Improves air quality
  • Improves water quality
  • Improves plant production

Pest Management

Managing pests by following an ecological approach that promotes the growth of healthy plants with strong defenses, while increasing stress on pests and enhancing the habitat for beneficial organisms.

  • Reduces pesticide risks to water quality
  • Reduces threat of chemicals entering the air
  • Decreases pesticide risk to pollinators and other beneficial organisms
  • Increases soil organic matter
  • Improves water quality
  • Improves air quality
  • Increases plant pollination
  • Increases plant productivity