Soil Management

Soil Management

The health of the soil is the basis for all life on earth. As soil loses organic matter it becomes degraded often resulting in compaction, erosion, and less nutrient and water holding capacity. The more soil is degraded the more work we need to do to it to keep our yield up.

Stopping Erosion/Building Health

It takes over 100 years to make one inch of soil and if you’re not careful you can lose one in of soil in one heavy rain! Preventing erosion takes cover to help break or reduce the erosive forces of wind and rain.

Waterways

Waterways are natural or constructed channels, shaped and graded to required dimensions, and seeded with suitable vegetation for stable conveyance of runoff. The grass-lined waterway is one of the most commonly used conservation practices.

When rainfall exceeds the infiltration rate or available water-holding capacity of the soil, surplus water will run off over the land. The success of any soil conservation effort depends on the removal of this surplus water without undue erosion.

Cover Crops/No-Till

Providing cover not only reduces the impact of rain and wind on the soil surface it also feeds the microorganisms in the soil that help to maintain structure and health. No-till is the process of leaving the previous crop’s residue and planting directly into that residue the following year. Over time the old plant mater will decompose and be taken back into the soil by earthworms.

Cover crops are crops that are planted toward the end or after harvest to cover and feed the soil throughout the winter. Different species or mixes of species aid in soil health, weed suppression, nitrogen building, and reducing compaction. The key to using cover crops is to consider your soils needs, pesticide system (residuals), crop rotation, and application type.

To find out more visit:
www.no-tillfarmer.com
http://www.mccc.msu.edu/states/ohio.html

Cover Crop Aggregation Program

In 2015, the Erie Conservation District teamed up with Buckeye Soil Solutions to get cover crops early in corn and beans by using a modified Miller Sprayer. This was made possible my aggregating several farms together to bring the service to Erie County. Participating farmers paid $15/ac plus seed cost to get the full benefits of cover crops by planting early and extending their growing time by over 2 months! To learn more visit www.buckeyesoilsolutions.com

Windbreaks

Windbreaks are a several rows of shrubs and trees planted along fields to help reduce or redirect winds which increases crop yields, reduces soils erosion, blocks snow, and provides wildlife habitat.   Windbreaks are usually planted mixing several species of trees and shrubs, include evergreens, and staggering the planting rows. They may be used to protect crops or property such as homes or outbuilding.

To find out more about windbreaks check out this windbreak fact sheet (pdf)

For funding on windbreaks visit the Northwest Ohio Windbreak Program