Soil Health Tag

Did you know that the most important livestock on your farm are the ones you never purchased and, in most cases, have rarely, if ever, seen? These livestock, along with plant roots, play an essential role in improving soil health, which is the foundation of any agricultural operation. But what is soil health and how does one go about improving it? The NCAT four-part webinar series Advanced Grazing for Regenerating Soils and Enhancing Animal Nutrition begins by addressing this question. 
Justin Morris, NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist, and  Lee Rinehart, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

A new peer-reviewed research report published by the Soil Health Institute offers insight into the vital role that soil organic carbon levels can play in preventing drought, reducing flooding, and improving the health and water retention of the soils used to grow crops. The publication includes the development of new pedotransfer function equations, available for use by other researchers, that enable more precise measurement of the correlation between carbon levels, water retention and various soil types. These new equations will allow scientists to better predict how much water farmers can provide to their crops through improved soil health—specifically, by raising...

For more than 35 years, the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program has been helping farmers and ranchers grow nutritious food and operate successful businesses without synthetic fertilizer. Now, NCAT has released a new toolkit with trusted and practical resources for farmers who want to transition away from the use of synthetic fertilizers.
Emilie Ritter Saunders, Nina Prater and Lee Rinehart...

Erik Tucker has been ranching in Southeast Colorado since his early 20s, and although he didn’t grow up on a ranch, he has long felt  that the old way of ranching just wasn’t working. He likes to observe the sunshine, rain, and natural processes of the world that culminate in pastures and healthy cattle. He knows livestock didn’t always need so much handling, especially when bison freely roamed the area. He often thinks about those times and wonders if they can be recreated in their efficiency.
By Hernán Colmenero, Sustainable Food Consultant...

The Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) developed a new, non-destructive method for finding carbon stored in the soil by plants and microbes. According to a press release, this new method for measuring carbon pulled out of the air promises to be an important tool for fighting climate change and developing more ecologically friendly forms of agriculture. The new method uses a device that scans the soil with a beam of neutrons that react to carbon and other elements in the soil, mapping the distribution of different elements to a resolution of about five centimeters. The method...

Did you know you can do a soil health assessment on your own pasture without having to send in soil samples to a laboratory? And this assessment costs only your time because it requires no special tools. Using the senses of sight, smell, and touch, along with very simple hand tools — a shovel and a knife — you can determine the health of the soil in your pasture in less than 30 minutes.
By Justin Morris, NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist...

Related ATTRA publication: Reducing Tillage Intensity in Organic Production Systems A new study in the journal Earth's Future, led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, shows that, since Euro-American settlement, agricultural fields in the midwestern U.S. have lost, on average, two millimeters of soil per year. This means the Midwest has lost approximately 57.6 billion metric tons of topsoil since farmers began tilling the soil, 160 years ago. This is nearly double the rate of erosion that the USDA considers sustainable. Furthermore, USDA estimates of erosion are between three and eight times lower than the figures reported in the study. Finally, the...

In partnership with the Soil Health Institute, the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center has released a four-video series on soil health in California cotton production systems. The videos relate results from long-term research and grower innovations that revealed the soil-health advantages of no-till production with cover crops. The video series includes an episode on the history of soil health management systems for California cotton, an episode on grower innovations, a report on a 22-year soil research study, and a video that focuses on soil aggregate stability....

The Massachusetts Coordinated Soil Health Program, a collaborative project spearheaded by American Farmland Trust, announced its first cohort of farmer consultants as part of the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Farmer Consultant Program. The program provides farmers who are newly adopting regenerative agriculture and healthy soils practices with access to farmers who are experts in soil health management systems across scales, areas of ability, and farm products. By identifying early-adopter farmers who are excited to talk to other farmers about soil health (and by compensating them fairly for their time) the program is designed to break down barriers between farmer networks and...

In a new video series: Soil Health 101: Principles for Livestock Production, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Nina Prater makes the case for modeling soil health strategies after nature’s blueprint that produced that situation in the first place. We all know the basic story. Plants photosynthesize sunlight and make sugars. They use the sugars to build leaves and stems and roots and seeds – pretty much everything that makes a plant a plant. But at the same time, they share the wealth by exuding sugars from the roots to feed a “community” of soil microbes and fungi that in turn help keep the...

Mississippi Farmer Jody Reyer, owner and operator of Reyer Farms, shares how he manages his Piney Woods Cattle in order to build soil health. He discusses how he utilizes hay carefully and managed grazing in order to maintain and improve the health of his soil. This workshop is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG. This material is also based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2019-38640-29878 through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture...

In this webinar, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Felicia Bell discusses the role of cover crops in building soil health. She introduces managed grazing, different cover crop options, and how these relate to water infiltration into the soil. This workshop is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG. This material is also based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2019-38640-29878 through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number...

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded funding for a four-year, $1 million project that will explore the connections between soil health, the nutritional value of grains, and human health. Specifically, the research will investigate how soil management practices affect the amino acid content of crops. The collaborative project involves several institutions that have long-term research trials comparing organic and conventional management....

In this webinar, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Nina Prater talks about the five principles of soil health, with a particular focus on livestock production. She gives real world examples of how to put the soil health principles into practice. This workshop is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG. This material is also based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2019-38640-29878 through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under...

For many areas of the western United States and Canada, 2021 was one of the hottest and driest years in recorded history. With temperatures exceeding 110 degrees F and precipitation at one-third to one-half of what’s been the norm, these are unparalleled conditions that are catastrophic in their effect on the land, animals, and people. But what is to be done when nature dishes out severe weather events such as flooding, fire, or grasshoppers that eat every green leaf in sight? Is it possible to not just bounce back from such catastrophes but to bounce forward by rising to even...

A new video series from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation highlights several different farms dedicated to soil health and sustainability, from produce growers to dairies. The series includes a 27-minute video, as well as a number of short clips of approximately one minute each....

Related ATTRA resource: Regenerative Grazing The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a feature on Deep Grass Graziers, a southeast Georgia cattle farm where Dan Glenn practices regenerative agriculture. Glenn described how he altered his focus from cattle to forages to soil health in order to foster a healthy production system. Having the right cattle is also important, however. Glenn explained how he selected cattle suited to grass finishing. He also incorporated a pivot system for irrigation into his grazing plan....

A study published in Soil Science Society of America Journal explored whether best management practices for increasing soil organic matter increased crop yields when they were applied on-farm. Although many studies have shown that increases in organic matter can increase crop yield, results from greenhouses and test plots don't always apply at the farm scale. However, this study in the Midwest compiled data from 170 corn fields from 49 different farms to show that there is a positive relationship between the amount of soil organic matter and crop yields. The study also revealed that continuously corn-cropped fields were higher in...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has officially re-launched its Soil for Water project, opening access to the free, voluntary network to all commercial farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the United States. Soil for Water aims to connect farmers, ranchers, and land managers who are interested in land management practices that improve soil health, catch more water in soil, reduce erosion, sustain diverse plant and animal life, and filter out pollutants all while sustaining a profitable business.
NCAT Communications Director Emilie Ritter Saunders and NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist Linda Poole ...

A new Land Stewardship Project (LSP) billboard campaign promoting the power of building healthy soil on southern Minnesota farms utilizes striking photos, inspiring quotes, and humor to get across the benefits of utilizing cover cropping, managed rotational grazing, no-till, and diverse rotations to build resilient, biologically healthy soil. The campaign was inspired by the eight farmers who sit on the group's Soil Builders' Network steering committee. "Part of the message we're trying to get across is that building healthy soil is not only good for the land and a farmer's bottom line, but is a fun way to take control...

As a camera soars over an impressive piece of Rocky Mountain ranch land, the narrator says, “The soil that covers U.S. farm and ranch land holds a remarkable story. It’s a tale of success and setbacks. At its best, the soil beneath our feet is the source of life, food, and economic security.” The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has released its short film, Soil for Water, to highlight a growing network of farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the United States who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil. “Your soil health is going to...

Related ATTRA publication: Reducing Tillage Intensity in Organic Production Systems A study by Penn State University is one of the first to link soil disturbance with negative human health effects. Researchers found that soil tillage may reduce the availability in crops of ergothioneine (ERGO), an amino acid produced by certain types of soil-borne fungi and bacteria that is known as a "longevity vitamin" due to its potent antioxidant properties. "Research suggests that a lack of ergothioneine in the diet may result in increased incidences of chronic diseases of aging, such as Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease, and reduced life expectancy," notes Robert...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has opened registration for its Soil Health Innovations Conference: Soil for Water, March 15 and 16. The two-day conference will convene online, and the highly interactive format will connect agricultural producers and educators in a critical conversation about soil health. As was the first conference, it will be an in-depth exploration of agriculture’s sustainable future: on-farm practices, soil biology, carbon markets, and public policy. This year’s conference will focus on farm and ranch strategies to catch and hold more water in the soil. “The inaugural Soil Health Innovations Conference last spring really exceeded our expectations,” said...

Years of farming and visiting other farms, combined with recent education in soil health, have convinced me of this: We can best serve people, the land, and the livestock by learning to care for the soil FIRST. That’s why NCAT’s Livestock and Grazing Team began with this foundation when they gathered to teach a three-part series for beginning livestock producers. 
By Linda Coffey, NCAT Livestock Specialist...

Farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the United States who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil are invited to join the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Soil for Water project. Building on an expanding peer-to-peer network of ranchers in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Montana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia, NCAT has opened the program to crop farmers, ranchers, and land managers in all 50 states who are learning together how to catch and hold more water in the soil....

After many different and varied careers, Doug Lair settled into ranching 25 years ago, returning to a legacy started by his great-great grandfather, who passed down a team of mules and the family brand to his great grandfather. I recently had a conversation with Doug about his efforts to create a more holistic system of ranching.
By Andrew Coggins, NCAT Rocky Mountain West Regional Director...

If we’re going to build the health of anything – whether that’s our own health or the health of grazing lands – and we are causing damage by our management actions, then our first priority should be to stop the damage.
By Justin Morris, Regenerative Grazing Specialist...

Twenty-nine states have, or are now developing, state soil health initiatives or coalitions. How is Montana approaching soil health at the statewide level, and how can Montanans participate?
Mike Morris, Cole Mannix, Marni Thompson, and Linda Poole...

“Kill two birds with one stone” — isn't it time this old adage got an update? Instead of killing two birds with one stone, why don't we save two birds with one hedgerow? And protect soil from erosion while we're at it? And protect plants from wind damage, too? And do a bunch of other great things that benefit humans, animals, and the environment?
By Katherine Favor, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

A study by researchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and the University of Maine indicates that agricultural practices can help increase carbon storage in soils. Ecosystem Service Valuation Approaches and Carbon Mitigation Considerations for Garden State Agriculture says that cover cropping, grazing management, and agroforestry can increase the amount of carbon stored in agricultural soils and help New Jersey meet emissions reductions goals. In addition, these practices can help provide other ecosystem services, ranging from soil health to flood mitigation....

University of Illinois researchers studied how nitrogen in crop residues contributes to loss of soil carbon as the residue decomposes. Their trials showed that any form of nitrogen, either present in the residue or applied as fertilizer, accelerated decomposition by microbes and produced more carbon dioxide. When the residue was fully decomposed, microbes turned to soil carbon, or stable organic matter. This led to greater overall carbon dioxide production from nitrogen-fertilized residue, as well as a long-term loss of soil organic matter. The researchers plan to conduct similar testing in other soil types to see if they perform the same...

It’s the holiday season, the time of year when food and feasting is at the forefront of our thoughts more than ever. Just like humans, our soil needs nutrition, too, so while part of me is busy thinking about what food I’m going to make for my family this Christmas, the other part of me is thinking about what food my soil needs.
By Katherine Favor, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

One Good Idea is a new online platform and campaign to help farmers get started and have success with soil health and regenerative practices. Created by a multi-state team of university Extension professionals and farmers, One Good Idea was designed to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning about practices that can improve soil, land, and bottom lines, such as cover crops, conservation tillage, rotational grazing, and nutrient management. As a clearinghouse of videos and podcasts that feature farmers' ideas and experiences with these practices, One Good Idea creates a centralized location for farmers to learn from their peers about what has worked or...

An international coalition announced a $19 million research project aimed at understanding how a farmer or rancher's grazing management decisions impact soil health on pasture and rangeland and—in turn—how soil health can positively impact a producer's land and well-being. The "Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers" project was announced at the National Grazing Lands Coalition triennial meeting. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research awarded Noble Research Institute a $9.5 million grant to lead this critical research that is improving soil health on grazing lands. In turn, Noble Research Institute is...

Chronic human diseases are everywhere these days it seems. Interestingly, there are some similarities between how our bodies respond to acute and chronic disturbances and how grazing lands respond to acute and chronic disturbances that come in the form of grazing, drought, fire, hail and even insect pest invasion.
By Justin Morris, Regenerative Grazing Specialist...

The Yale Center for Business and the Environment's Regenerative Agriculture Initiative released a new publication, Soil Health Policy: Developing Community-Driven State Soil Health Policy and Programs. Two Yale Master of Environmental Management students worked with dozens of practitioners and other experts in farming, climate adaptation, policymaking, sustainable investment, coalition-building, and related fields to provide practical advice for people interested in developing community-driven, state-level soil health policy and programs. Readers will find counsel on outreach, drafting, writing, implementation, and monitoring for soil-relevant outcomes....

During my extensive travels working in pastoral ecosystems for nearly 20 years, ranging from Hawaii to New Hampshire and a lot of places in between, I’ve observed a common phenomenon. Whenever I would see a pasture that was always grazed down very short, I would see maybe two or three species of plants there. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I observed fields where livestock were never permitted to go and again, I would see a few plant species at best. Between these two extremes I found pastures with incredible diversity. So, what was driving plant diversity or the...

Research published by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies explored how the combined stressors of rising temperatures and residual livestock antibiotics interact to affect soil microbial function. The research team found that heat and antibiotics disrupt soil microbial communities, degrading soil microbe efficiency, resilience to future stress, and ability to trap carbon. This research focused on the common livestock antibiotic Monensin, which is poorly metabolised and still active in the waste of treated livestock. With rising heat and antibiotic additions under laboratory conditions, soil bacteria populations collapsed, allowing fungi to dominate and homogenize, resulting in fewer total microbes and less...

Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Cotton Production for the Humid South The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and the Soil Health Institute announced the launch of Institute's U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF), a unique, farmer-facing, science-based initiative that will support long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, with the goal of eliminating one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere by 2026. Organizers say the USRCF will empower cotton farmers to adopt regenerative practices, like cover cropping and no till, in a way that benefits their operation. The Soil Health Institute will work closely with cotton farmers to help them...

There’s nothing like a summer of vicious heat, drought, and grasshoppers to focus minds on the vital importance of healthy soil. Soil scientist Wallace Fuller said in 1975, “A cloak of loose, soft material, held to the Earth’s hard surface by gravity, is all that lies between life and lifelessness.” Across Montana, the summer of 2021 proved again just how crucial — and how vulnerable — that thin cloak of soil can be. Soil health is foundational to the resilience of land, and thus also to food systems, human health, and ecosystem function.
By Linda Poole, Regenerative Grazing Specialist...

“The Soil Health Innovations Conference occupies the cutting edge of soil health across the country – on-farm practices, soil biology, carbon markets, and public policy,” said Steve Thompson, NCAT executive director. “This set of videos adds to NCAT’s trusted knowledgebase and provides a free resource to any producer or land manager working to improve soil conditions.”...

Scientists in Canada are evaluating soil health by measuring enzymes involved in carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur nutrient cycles in the soil, counting fungi and bacteria varieties, and determining the ratio between the two. They are using these measurements to study the long-term soil health effects of different crop-growth systems, explains an American Society of Agronomy press release. The study found that fields in perennial grasses had the healthiest soils, with lots of biological activity and diverse microbes and fungi. Fields growing both a perennial grass and a legume called birdsfoot trefoil were especially healthy. In contrast, fields constantly growing...

Soil health has emerged as a central theme in conversations about the future of American agriculture. Soils have become a focal topic due to new scientific understanding, the application of emerging technologies, and a growing interest among producers and policymakers in improving climate resilience and mitigating emissions. NCAT's Soil Health Innovations Conference was held online with live-streamed speakers and panels, as well as virtual halls for exhibitors and student posters. The event allowed participants to network with exhibitors and sponsors and the producers, industry professionals, educators, and students who are at the cutting edge of soil health across the country. This video...

Multinational food giant Nestlé announced that it is investing $1.29 billion over the next five years to support and accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture across its global supply chain, reports Food Dive. Nestlé says it will work with its 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers to promote practices that enhance biodiversity, soil conservation, regeneration of water cycles, and integration of livestock. Meanwhile, Cargill has announced its own regenerative agriculture program that will pay farmers for carbon sequestration and improved soil health, says a Successful Farming news story. The carbon-measurement firm Regrow will measure, report, and verify carbon outcomes for participating...

Kiss The Ground is offering scholarships to Soil Health Academy's Regenerative Agriculture 101 online course. The scholarships are available to beginning farmers and ranchers, student/young/intern farmers and ranchers, military veteran farmers and ranchers, and educators/influencers. The scholarships provide free, one-year access to the online training taught by a world-renowned teaching cadre. The course educates farmers and ranchers on how to increase profitability, build resiliency into their land, decrease input costs, and improve the nutrient density and the marketability of the agricultural products they produce. Anyone can apply anytime through an online rolling application. ...

Visiting other farms is always a joy and an education for me. I recently had the pleasure of visiting BDA Farm in Uniontown, Alabama, for a day-long workshop where we toured the farm and learned about its regenerative practices that build soil health and increase productivity and profitability of the farm.
By Linda Coffey, Livestock Specialist...

New market research shows that Iowa farmers are interested in working with their lenders to better understand and realize the benefits of soil health. Banking on Soil Health: Farmer Interest in Transition Loan Products, a report conducted by agriculture market research firm Beck Ag in collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy, analyzes interviews with 100 Iowa farmers to understand their interest in adopting soil health practices and tests multiple ways agricultural lenders could support the transition. The analysis shows that farmers perceive a significant financial transition in adopting soil health practices. Although just 40% believe that soil...

In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist Jeff Schahczenski talks with Aria McLauchlan and Harley Cross about how to measure the impact that soil health practices can have in mitigating the impacts of weather and climate disruption. Aria and Harley are co-founders of Land Core, a nonprofit organization advancing soil health policies and programs that create value for farmers, businesses, and communities. Land Core guided the successful passage of language supporting soil health at the USDA in both the House and Senate in 2019 and built a broad coalition that helped secure more than...

Our NCAT Gulf States team has been working hard throughout the pandemic to provide quality technical assistance to farmers that we’re known for. Instead of meeting with farmers in-person, we shifted to virtual events. In-person on-farm workshops will always be our favorite way to teach, but we found that there are benefits to embracing the virtual platform. One significant benefit was that we were able to record these virtual workshops and share them with a national audience.
By Nina Prater, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

As a resilient bunch of plants, these native species have been planted in the deserts east of Los Angeles, the fog draped regions of the redwood forests, and everywhere in between. The goal of the project was to provide habitat to native species with a mix of 18 different hedgerow plants. A special addition of Narrow Leaf Milkweed was added to the mix in an effort to grow back a tiny portion of the Monarch butterfly habitat that has been removed in the name of development over recent decades.
By Omar Rodriguez, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

I love talking with people who are passionate about what they do. That energy and excitement is always so inspiring, and that was definitely the case recently when I talked with Matt Casteel, owner of Wurmworks, a composting business in Jackson, Mississippi. He works in partnership with local organizations to transform food waste into a resource for local farmers. Matt makes worm compost, thermophilic compost, compost extract, and compost tea. 
By Nina Prater, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

Regenerative Livestock Specialist Justin Morris may be new to the National Center for Appropriate Technology, but he's no stranger to using grazing as a tool to improve pasture quality and soil health. In this interview with NCAT Program Specialist Tracy Mumma, Justin explains how he first became interested in managing grazing to improve the land resource and discusses how livestock producers can start using grazing as a tool. He goes on to describe what regenerative agriculture means to him and the positive effect that it can have on soil health, environmental health, and producer well-being. Related ATTRA Resources: Justin Morris Biography ATTRA Grazing...

In January 2020, NCAT’s Armed to Farm team was busy making plans to host eight workshops, including one in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in June 2020. However, by late April it had become clear that we would not be able to meet in person for some time. After a year of waiting and hoping and Zooming, we were thrilled to finally host the 25th week-long Armed to Farm in May 2021 at Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center in Fayetteville. We were so happy to be back with a group of military veterans eager and ready to learn about sustainable farming.
By Robyn Metzger, Armed...

Everyone has their “thing”—that topic or interest that they just can’t get enough of. That topic that you bore people with at parties (remember parties?) when you talk about it just a little too long. For me, my “thing” is soil. I find the topic of soil so endlessly fascinating, and I get to think about, talk about, teach about, and play with soil as a job and a way of life. I’m lucky enough to be a soil specialist for NCAT and I live on a family farm.
By Nina Prater, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune sees soil as a living ecosystem whose critters need attention, just like the animals in any agriculture operation. 'Every one of you who's a farmer or even a gardener has livestock, because your livestock are in the soil, and you wouldn't think to not feed them,' Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune said recently to producers in Kansas.
By Rich Myers, NCAT Outreach Specialist...

In 2013, Montana Highland Lamb had finally come to the conclusion that we were spending way too much on fertilizer for our irrigated pastures. Sure, they were producing more than six tons of grass dry matter per acre, but for what? We were not realizing any profit—the fertilizer manufacturer was. Somehow, we had to escape the immense gravitational bondage of more and more inputs. But how?
By Dave Scott, NCAT Livestock Specialist and Co-Owner of Montana Highland Lamb...

Dr. Provenza will be among the featured speakers at NCAT’s first Soil Health Innovations Conference in March. He will be discussing 'How Palates Link the Health of Soil and Plants with Livestock and Humans.'
By Rich Myers, Outreach Specialist...

In this episode, Mike Morris, NCAT’s Southwest Regional Director, talks with Dr. Barbara Bellows about her new ATTRA publication, Soil Health Indicators and Tests. Recent years have seen an explosion of new soil health tests, measuring a wide variety of indicators that depend on the activity of soil microorganisms. Dr. Bellows is a soil scientist with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton State University. In this podcast, she explains how more than a dozen soil health test procedures actually work and offers practical advice on choosing a test that will meet your needs. Related ATTRA Resources: Soil Health Indicators and Tests Microbial...

Close to 20 years ago, we noticed a discouraging event slowly unfolding on our pivot-irrigated pasture of 12 acres: The first 120 feet of the pasture starting from the pivot point was producing less and less grass in comparison to the remaining perimeter of the pivot.
By Dave Scott, NCAT Livestock Specialist...