Improving soil health is one of the best ways to increase crop productivity and profitability and help improve the environment on both agricultural and urban landscapes. A good measurement of soil health is the level of organic matter in your soils. The 1% challenge was developed in 2017 by Brad Harrison with the Dallas County NRCS. Producers participating in the 1% challenge pledge to increase their organic matter by 1% over 10 years. Using as many of the 5 key soil health principles below is a good start!
- Keep the soil covered as much as possible
- Disturb the soil as little as possible
- Keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil
- Incorporate grazing when possible
- Diversify using crop rotations and cover crops
If you are interested in learning more about soil health or participating in the challenge contact your local NRCS office or visit the website below.
Urban residents can also play a role in improving soil health on their properties. Soil quality restoration involves spreading compost over a new or existing area in order to increase organic matter and improve overall lawn heath. Some of the benefits of a soil quality restoration include greener grass and more water holding capacity, lessening the need to water during the summer months.
To learn more about soil quality restorations, head over to the urban page!