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Soil Health and Management


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Video:  Building your Soil Structure  (U of M Ext, Aug 2015)
Time:  19:45;  Hal Weiser, USDA, discusses how to improve soil structure and soil biology to maximize crop production.

Video:  Living Soil Film (Soil Health Institute, Nov 2018)

Time 1:00:22;  Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Like any relationship, our living soil needs our tenderness. It’s time we changed everything we thought we knew about soil. Let’s make this the century of living soil.  This 60-minute documentary features innovative farmers and soil health experts from throughout the U.S.

Webinar:  Soil Health and New Soil Testing Methods (NRCS, Feb 2014)

Time: 1:47:00;  This webinar will give participants an overview of soil health and new soil testing tools for N-P-K that take into account the contribution of soil microbes, allowing producers to make informed nutrient management decisions, and it includes a discussion of the USDA NRCS Soil Health Nutrient Tool Project.

Participants will learn how soil microbes control nutrient availability to plants, and how management can influence this dynamic. The importance of carbon in the soil ecosystem, C:N ratios, limitations of traditional soil tests, and new methods for measuring the contribution of soil microbes to nutrient availability and cycling will be discussed.

Webinar:  The Relevance of Soil Biology in Assessing Fertility and Soil Health  ( Apr, 2015)

Time:  1:22:00; Participants will learn how soil biology directly and indirectly influence crop growth and nutrient cycling, along with methods for measuring biological activity in soil and interpreting soil respiration to understand nutrient availability.

Soil health is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystems to sustain plants, animals and humans. Nutrient cycling, a key soil function that is driven by soil microbial activity, is often higher in healthy soils, but is difficult to account for when developing crop nutrient budgets. This webinar will provide information on how soil health can be measured in a lab, along with plant available nutrients and the importance of accounting for both the organic and inorganic forms of N, P, and K. In addition, participants will gain an understanding of how:

Soil respiration in soil testing can improve nutrient recommendations and reduce environmental impacts

Video:  Soil Health (Univ of MN, 2017)

Time:  57:21; In this session, Dr. Jessica Gutknecht discusses soil health.   When you think about the soil beneath your feet, or beneath your tractor, what does it mean for it to be healthy? What does it take for it to be healthy, and what are the results of those efforts? In this talk, we will explore the world below with a brief introduction to soils, how soil structure is built into a healthy soil, and some management options for building a healthy soil. We will also discuss the win-win of soil health for sustainable management and for adaptation to increasingly variable Minnesota weather and climate.

Webinar:  Soil Quality- the Foundation for Resource Management  (NRCS, Aug 2011)

Time: 1:55;  Participants in the webinar learn about Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation planning principles to improve soil health and the impact soil health has on other resource concerns, such as water quality.

Webinar:  Core NRCS Conservation Practices for Enhancing Soil Health  (NRCS, Feb 2014)

Time: 1:10; This webinar focuses on how several core NRCS conservation practices can be used by farmers to improve soil health, linking them to the four soil health planning principles, i.e. minimizing disturbance, maximizing diversity, keeping a living root growing, and maintaining residue cover.

Video series:  Unlock the Secrets in the Soil (NRCS)

A series of 41 videos, mostly under five minutes each that discuss various soil health topics and applications of soil health principles. 

Webinar:  Understanding Soil Quality Impacts on Soil Functions and Other Resource Concerns (Ohio State University Extension, Jun 2011)

Time:  1:18; Participants learn about nutrient management and healthy soils, and the resulting effects on water quality through a study of mechanisms for increasing soil organic matter, providing habitat for soil microorganisms, and improving soil quality.

Soil Health and Sustainability for Minnesota Webinars

Webinar 1:  Introduction to Soil Health (Time: 1:50)

Webinar 2: Nutrients, Soil Biology and Diversity in Agroecosystems (Time: 1:55)

Webinar 3: Disturbance, Grazing and Economics (Time: 1:48)

These three webinars are prerequisites for the Minnesota Soil Health Field Day and Minnesota Soil Health Classroom Training to meet the Soil Health and Sustainability Training requirements of the Apprentice Conservation Planner and Certified Conservation Planner curricula.

Video: Keep Cattle in Minnesota Project (Time: 1:27:49)

This video is produced by the Sustainable Farming Association and the Keep Cattle in Minnesota Program. The mission of this program is to sustain the beef and cattle industries while protecting and enhancing our vast environmental resources.

Reading: MN NRCS Soil Health Training Resources (Time will vary)

This is a set of 30+ soil health related training resources that is maintained by MN NRCS.


Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

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