Category Archives: Soil Health

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Baseline Assessment of the Soil Health in Ohio

A key part of soil health assessments is understanding how soil health indicators vary by soil type. This Digital Café features Christine Sprunger, Assistant Professor of Soil Health at Michigan State University, who outlines a baseline soil health assessment that was conducted in Ohio. The talk also outlines goals for conducting future baseline assessments across the state of Michigan. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.


Prairies and Landscape Change: Notes from the Underground

Restoring prairie from cropland has well-known benefits to soil health – at least to the soil directly underneath the prairie. In this presentation, Dr. Marshall McDaniel, Associate Professor at Iowa State University, shared how might prairie strips, or contour plantings of native prairie species embedded in row crop fields, affect the surrounding soil and crops. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.


Cover Crop Profitability

How long does it take for cover crops to become profitable?  In this presentation, Dr. Rob Myers of University of Missouri shared insights on how different management scenarios can impact the time it takes for cover crops to provide a positive economic return, based on data from the SARE/CTIC national cover crop survey.This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.


Citizen Science for Great Lakes Cover Crops

Many cover crop benefits depend on successful cover crop growth, or biomass, but cover crop biomass can vary widely across farms because it is influenced by a range of environmental and management factors. This Digital Cafe featured Etienne Herrick, a Ph.D. student in the Blesh Soil and Agroecosystems Lab at the University of Michigan, who provided an overview of a citizen science project working to better understand how and why cover crop growth varies across real farms. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.


Soil Health Practices and Water Behavior and Efforts to Quantify Soil Function

Soil health is defined in terms of soil function, and some of the most important functions are related to water-holding and water infiltration. Farmers and policy-makers both care about these properties, but they can be elusive to measure. In this edition of the Soil Health Digital Café, Dr. Anna Cates, University of Minnesota Soil Health Specialist, discusses on-farm efforts to quantify changes in soil function with soil health practice adoption, including soil organic matter pools, soil aggregates, and water infiltration. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.


Nebraska Soil Health Producer Panel

In a special edition of the Soil Health Nexus Digital Cafe Series, Nebraska Extension hosted a Producer Panel. The panel includes 3hree Nebraska farmers who share their soil health and conservation stories, how precipitation impacts the conservation practices they practice, and how the adoption of conservation has impacted their bottom line. They also answer audience questions. This presentation was originally broadcast on Thursday, August 25, 2022.


How to Interrogate a Soil

This Soil Health Digital Café features Tony Hartshorn, Associate Professor at Montana State University, who discusses his work in the Soil Interrogation Lab at Montana State University, soil literacy, soil remediation, and the importance of knowing your parent material. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, August 17, 2022.


Soil Health’s Link to Water Quality

The agronomic benefits of improving soil health are well known, but when it comes to the specific impacts on water quality off field, there are more unknowns. In June, the Digital Cafe Webinar Series took a break to encourage folks to attend The Current webinar series, on Soil Health’s Link to Water Quality. That webinar is featured below. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.


Understanding Adoption of Agricultural Conservation Practices

The April edition of the Digital Cafe series featured Linda Prokopy, Professor and Department Head in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University. Linda is a Professor and Department Head of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University and directs the Indiana Water Resources Research Center. Linda also leads the Natural Resources Social Science Lab (NRSS) that examines how human interactions with the environment impact natural resources. In this webinar, Linda summarizes decades of research examining what motivates adoption of conservation practices in agriculture. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.