Posted November 24, 2021 | By Ryan Bond, Ph.D., Senior Director, Crop Protection and Nutrition Innovation
Take Your Soil Health To The Next Level For #Plant22
As the foundation of productive, efficient, and sustainable agriculture, soil health remains top of mind for growers. To build and maintain healthy soils, growers should remain focused on their soils’ physical, biological, and chemical properties, as each plays an important role in improving soil tilth, water infiltration, and nutrient cycling leading to more efficient crop growth and performance. Whether you’re a row crop grower or grow specialty crops, start this upcoming growing season by improving your soil health. Here are three ways to do just that:
1) Reduce Soil Traffic and Tillage
Compacted soils are less productive soils imbibing less surface water resulting in a greater erosion potential. Optimizing tractor run-throughs when applying inputs to a field can lessen soil compaction. Increases in organic matter have been proven to improve soil tilth and water infiltration, yet excessive tillage can increase microbial activity leading to a decomposition of organic matter and an overall decrease in soil health.
2) Increase Organic Matter Inputs and Biodiversity
Cover crops, crop residues and livestock manures are a few ways to add organic matter to your soils and improve its biodiversity. The diversity of your soil’s microbial community should not be overlooked, as it plays an important role in building soil structure, improving nutrient cycling, and breaking up soil borne pest and disease cycles. Growers should continue to test their soils and monitor and track changes in soil organic matter content over time.
3) Soil Sampling
Many growers start their crop year by partnering up with our agronomists to sample and analyze their soils in order to carefully plan the timing, application method, and quantity of fertilizers and organic amendments, like manures, to meet crop nutrient demands, minimize nutrient excesses and imbalances, and optimize soil health.
Annually, Nutrien Ag Solutions conducts more than 500,000 soil samples. We partner with the best laboratories, like Waypoint Analytical, and use the latest technology when sampling and providing recommendations for your fields. Contact your local Nutrien Ag Solutions retailer to learn more about the benefits of soil sampling.
Additionally, by using the latest technology from Agrible — a digital platform connecting growers to local agronomic experts — we’re able to measure environmental outcomes to continue making an impact for better soil health.
Not all soils are equal. Therefore, best practices to improve soil health in one field may vary from that of another. Growers may start small on or in a field and adjust techniques based on soil type, such as sandy or clay soil. This is a great method for conducting trials on what works best for your land.
Overall, it's important to remember that soil health plays an integral part in protecting your investment. Not tending to your soil is like not tending to your cars or tractors. Eventually, without proper care and nurturing, your car or tractor will be less efficient and breakdown. At Nutrien Ag Solutions, we’re working hard to equip growers with the tools they need to maintain their land and operations for generations to come.
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