High Plains Public Radio

soil health

Barbara Damrosch / Washington Post

This spring folks on the High Plains might consider feeding their soil a seafood dinner. When we make soup, it might seem easier to just dump an envelope of dehydrated powder into the pot. But using real leeks and thyme isn’t hard, and it results in a richer and tastier meal. Your soil acts in much the same way, says a recent column in The Washington Post.

New Institute Founded to Study Soil Health

Dec 14, 2015
agriculture.com

Soil plays a critical role in our everyday lives. But over the last 150 years, half of the earth's topsoil has been lost. In the U.S. alone, 70% of the soil is considered marginal. These trends are alarming, and a new research organization called the Soil Health Institute has been founded to try to reverse them. The institute’s aim will be to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of the earth’s soil.

Cover Crops Provide Forage and Improve Soil

Aug 25, 2015
USDA / NRCS

The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows.

Choosing the Right Cover Crop

Aug 18, 2015
USGS

Playas benefit from practices that result in good soil health. Improving the health and quality of the soil is one of the easiest and most effective ways producers can increase crop productivity - hence profitability - while benefiting wildlife and improving the environment.

Good Soil Health Practices Benefit Playas

Aug 11, 2015
Dale Daniel

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health: 1) keep soil covered as much as possible; 2) disturb the soil as little as possible; 3) keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and 4) diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

USDA / NRCS

The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows.

Harvest Public Media

Nebraska farmer Bill Volkmer describes himself as an "old farmer." But this old farmer is willing to learn some new tricks. He started planting cover crops in 2011.

Jason Baker / Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo

Playas benefit from practices that result in good soil health.

Improving the health and quality of the soil is one of the easiest and most effective ways producers can increase crop productivity, hence profitability, while benefitting wildlife and improving the environment. No-till practices, plus the planting of cover crops, mean less soil moves as runoff into playas during rain events.

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health.

Scott Bauer / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Western Kansas is a semi-arid region, with yearly precipitation at 17-19 inches. Progressive farmers understand their biggest challenge is capturing and holding every drop of moisture they can.

Farm Foundation

Southwest Kansas producer Steve Arnold had been a big irrigator. Ten wells, numerous pivot irrigation systems and 4-wheel-drive tractors on a farm near Johnson City.

USGS

South-central Nebraska producer John Kinley has a three-acre rainwater basin in a crop field. He talks about progressive practices such as no-till production and cover cropping.

Scott Bauer / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health: