Soil Health InitiativeDemonstrating soil health management across Nebraska
The University of Nebraska, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Nebraska farmers and ranchers are participating in a state-wide effort to enhance the adoption of soil health and rangeland health management systems through the Soil Health Demonstration Farms and Ranch Initiatives. These initiatives will establish in-field management comparisons across the state to showcase grazing management and cropping system comparisons.
How can we manage cropland to improve soil health? To test and encourage adoption of soil health practices, the Soil Health Demonstration Initiative was launched as a collaborative effort of growers, UNL and NRCS. Now a network of farm research sites is providing valuable information from in-field studies.
Growers conducting on-farm demonstrations as part of the Nebraska Soil Health Initiative met with UNL and NRCS staff to share about what they were doing and learning on their farms. Their work offers valuable insights for other growers considering how they too can build soil health on their farms.
Animal manure can be a valuable soil nutrient. Three stories at Water.unl.edu explore how manure improves soil fertility and productivity, how poultry manure can be managed in crop production, and how composted beef manure can be added to sugar beet production.
This study examined impacts of using a cereal rye cover crop in corn systems in eastern Nebraska and found that it boosted the microbial community in the upper two inches of the soil. This may improve soil aggregation, nutrient cycling, and other soil health benefits.