Remote Sensing to Monitor Cover Crop Adoption in Southern Pennsylvania

In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, winter cereal cover crops are often planted in rotation with summer crops to reduce the loss of nutrients and sediment from agricultural systems. Cover crops can also improve soil health, control weeds and pests, supplement forage needs, and support resilient cropping systems. In southeastern Pennsylvania, cover crops can be successfully […]

The 4Rs for Cover Crops and Other Advances in Cover Crop Quality

Cover crops can be useful tools to improve nutrient management and protect air, soil, and water quality. However, when using cover crops, producers need to determine the type of cover crop and details about the cover crop management to optimize use for site-specific conditions of soil and climate. There is a need to use the […]

The Science of Soil Health: What Happens When You Till?

When we use tillage, the soil ecosystem is disturbed on a massive scale. Purdue’s Dr. Eileen Kladivko contrasts natural ecosystems with tilled systems and describes what we stand to lose when soils are tilled. Dr. Eileen Kladivko is a professor of Agronomy at Purdue University’s College of Agriculture in West Lafayette, Indiana. She holds a […]

Four Strategies to Improve Your Field’s 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. These four strategies are based on four basic soil health principles […]

Improving Water Quality through Soil Health

Research has clearly shown that many of the same soil health practices of interest to farmers for enhancing productivity are also beneficial for water quality. Consequently, conducting the additional research and education needed to expand adoption of soil health management systems by farmers will afford the simultaneous benefits of protecting and improving water quality. Assessments […]

Soil Carbon Storage

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a vital component of soil with important effects on the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Storage of SOC results from interactions among the dynamic ecological processes of photosynthesis, decomposition, and soil respiration. Human activities over the course of the last 150 years have led to changes in these processes and consequently […]

Carbon Sequestration in Soils

Over the past 150 years, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has increased by 30%. Most scientists believe there is a direct relationship between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures. One proposed method to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide is to increase the global storage of carbon in soils. […]

Ten Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health

Methods of improving soil health come back to the core principles identified by NRCS, including a greater diversity of plants, keeping the soil covered, having living roots in the soil throughout the year and disturbing the soil less. As we learn more about soil biology, even modest use of cover crops makes a big difference […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Indiana (Fact Sheet)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economics information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 16 farmers interviewed in Indiana grew crops on an average of 3473 acres, using no-till on 88% and cover crops on 79% of those acres. Seventy-five […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Indiana (Webinar)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economics information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 16 farmers interviewed in Indiana grew crops on an average of 3473 acres, using no-till on 88% and cover crops on 79% of those acres. Seventy-five […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Illinois (Fact Sheet)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 11 farmers interviewed in Illinois grew crops on an average of 934 acres, using no-till on 74% and cover crops on 71% of those acres. Seventy-three […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Illinois (Webinar)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 11 farmers interviewed in Illinois grew crops on an average of 934 acres, using no-till on 74% and cover crops on 71% of those acres. Seventy-three […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Tennessee (Fact Sheet)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 10 farmers interviewed in Tennessee grew crops on an average of 2,824 acres, using no-till on 100% and cover crops on 19% of those acres. Eighty […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Tennessee (Webinar)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 10 farmers interviewed in Tennessee grew crops on an average of 2,824 acres, using no-till on 100% and cover crops on 19% of those acres. Eighty […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Nebraska (Fact Sheet)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economics information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 12 farmers interviewed in Nebraska grew crops on an average of 1,485 acres, using no-till on 95% and cover crops on 47% of those acres. Seventy-five […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Nebraska (Webinar)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economics information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 12 farmers interviewed in Nebraska grew crops on an average of 1,485 acres, using no-till on 95% and cover crops on 47% of those acres. Seventy-five […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Iowa (Fact Sheet)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 10 farmers interviewed in Iowa grew crops on an average of 2125 acres, using no-till on 83% and cover crops on 58% of those acres. Seventy […]

Economics of Soil Health Systems – Iowa (Webinar)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 10 farmers interviewed in Iowa grew crops on an average of 2125 acres, using no-till on 83% and cover crops on 58% of those acres. Seventy […]

Mechanisms underlying limited soil carbon gains in perennial and cover‐cropped bioenergy systems revealed by stable isotopes

Removal of biomass for bioenergy production may decrease soil organic carbon. While perennials or cover‐cropped grains often have greater root production than annual grain crops, they variably impact soil carbon and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We used high‐frequency measurements of soil respiration and natural abundance carbon stable isotopes to differentiate respiration sources, pool sizes, and […]