Soils & Compost


At the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Big Flats (New York) Plant Materials Center, scientists are excavating eastern gamagrass roots for study.

Healthy soil can improve crop and livestock production. The publications and other resources listed here offer information on how to assess, improve, and maintain soil health for both croplands and pastures. Several publications address fertilization and composting specifically for organic production. Soil management can also play an important role in protecting water quality, and additional resources are listed on that topic.

 

 


 

⇒ Videos

Soil Aggregate Stability: Visual Indicator of Soil Health
Carbonomics
Cover Crops, No-till, and Soil Health
Columbia County, Penn., Conservation District Panel Discussion
Equipment Innovations for Soil Health: Columbia Country Conservation District
Year 2 & Beyond: High Tunnel Soil Health for the Experienced Grower
Mien Strawberry Growers in California
Organic Crop Rotations: Conservation Benefits
Intensive Grazing: One Farm’s Set-Up (9 video series)
Promoting High-Quality Conservation on Organic Farms
Gabe Brown: Farming in Nature’s Image
Composting! You Can Do It
Cover Crop Options for Hot and Humid Areas
Five Benefits of Cover Crops
Four Warm Season Cover Crops
Terrapin Farm Cover Crop Tour Near Whitefish, MT
Cover Crop Uses for Small-Scale Producers
Bye Farm Cover Cropping Near Kevin, Montana
Cover Crop Research by MSU ~ Part 1
Cover Crop Research by MSU ~ Part 2
Vilicus Farms: Cover Crops and Tour
Cover Cropping an Almond Orchard
Mixed Cover Crops: An introduction
Increasing Diversity and Enhancing Stewardship with Cover Crops
Mixed Cover Crops – Dr. Clain Jones
Innovative No-Till: Using Multi-Species Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health


 

NOTE: Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Acrobat Reader.

⇒ Publications

 

A Brief Overview of Nutrient Cycling in Pastures – IP221

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Alternative Soil Amendments – IP054

PDF Price: $0.99 for non-members

SummaryBuy PDFBuy Print Copy


Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories Database
View Now


Arsenic in Poultry Litter: Organic Regulations – IP266

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Assessing the Pasture Soil Resource – IP128

PDF Price: $.99 for non-members
Kindle Price: $0.99

SummaryBuy PDFBuy KindleBuy Print Copy


ATTRA Soil Resources – IP556

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture – IP358

PDF Price: FREE
Kindle Price: $0.99

SummaryDownload PDFBuy KindleBuy Print CopyView Now


Building Healthy Pasture Soils – IP546

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Compost for Sacramento Small Farms – IP540

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Composting – The Basics – IP410

PDF Price: $3.95 for non-members
Kindle Price: $3.95

SummaryBuy PDFBuy KindleBuy Print Copy


Cover Crop (340) in Organic Systems – IP471

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Cover Crop Options for Hot and Humid Areas – IP535

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Drought Resistant Soil – IP169

PDF Price: $0.99 for non-members

SummaryBuy PDFBuy Print Copy


How to Add Compost on Your Small Farm – IP555

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income – IP475

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Manures for Organic Crop Production – IP127

PDF Price: $.99 for non-members

SummaryBuy PDFBuy Print Copy


Marketing Manure: A Value-Added Product for Small Operations – IP459

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


No-Till Case Study, Bauer Farm: Cover Crop Cocktails on Former CRP Land – IP442

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


No-Till Case Study, Brown’s Ranch: Improving Soil Health Improves the Bottom Line – IP440

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


No-Till Case Study, Miller Farm: Restoring Grazing Land with Cover Crops – IP444

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


No-Till Case Study, Richter Farm: Cover Crop Cocktails in a Forage-Based System – IP437

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Nutrient Cycling in Pastures – IP136

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Nutrient Management Plan (590) for Organic Systems – IP472

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures – IP024

PDF Price: $1.95 for non-members

SummaryBuy PDFBuy Print Copy


Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production – IP112

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFView Now


Small-Scale Intensive Farm Publications CD – IP418
SummaryBuy Print Copy


Soil Health and Livestock: ATTRA Resources – IP512

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations – IP270

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Soil Moisture Monitoring: Low-Cost Tools and Methods – IP277

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Sources of Organic Fertilizers and Amendments
View Now


Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases – IP173

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Sustainable Soil Management – IP027

PDF Price: $2.95 for non-members

SummaryBuy PDFBuy Print Copy


Symphylans: Soil Pest Management Options – IP283

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print CopyView Now


Tipsheet: Assessing the Soil Resource for Beginning Organic Farmers – IP509

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Tipsheet: Compost – IP448

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Tipsheet: Manure in Organic Production Systems – IP502

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Vermicomposting: The Basics – IP454

PDF Price: FREE

SummaryDownload PDFBuy Print Copy


Worms for Bait or Waste Processing (Vermicomposting) – IP110

PDF Price: $3.99 for non-members
Kindle Price: $3.99

SummaryBuy PDFBuy KindleBuy Print Copy


⇒ Publications

Links to Other Soils Information

Fundamentals of Soils

Building Soils for Better Crops
SARE publication
USDA/NRCS Soils Website

Soil Quality

Cornell Soil Health
NRCS Soil Quality / Soil Health
Soil and Health Library
“The Soil & Health Library” is an excellent site that keeps many of the classic writings on organic farming—such as Sir Albert Howard’s books—accessible to us.

Soil Biology

Biological Soil Crusts
Biological Soil Crusts: Ecology and Management
(large PDF), United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
Earthworm Information
Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis
Soil Biological Communities
Bureau of Land Management National Science & Technology Center
Soil Biology Primer
NRCS Soil Quality

Soil Organic Matter

Restoring the Productivity of Marginal Soils with Organic Amendments
American Journal of Alternative Agriculture
Soil Organic Matter
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

Organic Fertilizers and Amendments

National Organic Program
The National Organic Program website is the place to find and download copies of the Final Rule, learn about current NOSB recommendations, get a history of the National Organic Program, and more.
Nutrient Content of Fertilizer and Organic Materials
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Soil Fertility Management for Organic Crops
University of California

Composting

BioCycle: Journal of Composting & Organics Recycling
Compost Science and Utilization
Composting at Home: Ohio State Extension Fact Sheet
Cornell University Composting Home Page
Farmer Information Fact Sheets: Composting
Mortality Composting
Information on composting, disposal, and burial of dead animal carcasses and offal.
On-Farm Composting Handbook
Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service
U.S. Composting Council Education Resources

Vermicomposting

Earthworm Digest
Worms Eat My Garbage

Soil Conservation

Soil and Water Conservation Society
USDA/NRCS National Conservation Practice Standards

Crop Rotations, Cover Crops, Mulching, and No-till

Cover Crop Fundamentals
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet
Michigan Cover Crops
Michigan State University & Kellogg Biological Station
Midwest Cover Crops Council
No-tillage
UC SAREP Cover Crop Resource Page
Value of Legumes for Plowdown Nitrogen
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet

Soils for Pasture and Range Use

Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health
(PDF), United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management
USDA/NRCS Range & Pasture

Nutrient Management Planning

Certified Manure Testing Laboratories
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Livestock and Poultry Environmental Stewardship Curriculum

 

Back to top