Whether you grow corn on thousands of acres of black Drummer soil in central Illinois or run a few hundred head of cattle on Mollisol soils in the Great Plains, soil is the fundamental building block of your operation. When was the last time you took at good look at the health of your soils — gave each field a checkup of sorts?
Sure, you likely send soil samples to a lab for analysis every so often. Have you ever conducted a slake test or dug a soil pit to see what’s happening below ground? When was the last time you tried a different approach to tillage or grazing practices? Have you ever planted cover crops?
Investing in soil health requires time and patience. It also takes money, so don't forget about federal and state programs for financial and technical assistance. The good news is healthy soils are more resilient to drought and stress, which is a big win because Mother Nature always has something up her sleeve.
No matter where you stand in your soil health journey, the following three steps can help advance your efforts:
- Use in-field and lab soil tests to identify and address needs.
- Keep good records, including photos, to document your progress.
- Engage experts you trust to benchmark how you’re doing and adjust along the way.
On the blank lines below, write your personal definition of soil health. With that perspective top of mind, you’ll be able to apply learnings from this guide to up your soil health game. Fill out this short form, then click the button to download your free Soil Health Guide today.