Ag Answers: Soil Health

The Morning Show

Doug Gucker from the U of I extension office joins the Morning Show to discuss the importance of soil health for farmers.

Soil Health is the ability of the soil to perform at its full potential to grow crops, and protect the environment.

Pres. F. Roosevelt put it very well, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.” Recent global reports have gotten a lot of attention, because they show wide spread soil degradation across the world. These reports plus research out of the U.S. caused the U.S. government to create a “Soil Health” initiative in 2012.

A healthy soil was more living organisms in it, so it will decompose and recycle nutrients faster. This leads to better soil structure, so water drains better, yet at the same time it has the capacity to hold more available water for plants and plant roots can grow deeper. This also increases the ability of the soil to filter the soil water leading to cleaning waters for everyone.

Plant cover crops and reduce the amount of tillage they use in their fields and gardens. Cover crops help to feed the soil organisms through the winter, while bare, tilled land starves these same organisms and reduces their numbers

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