About the Soil Health Initiative

Man looking at soil samples

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.

The purpose of these efforts is to demonstrate Soil Health Management Systems applicable to various regions of Nebraska. This will allow farmers across the state to have a local opportunity to experience the results of soil health focused management first hand.

The producers in this initiative are conducting strip trials of various cover crops, crop rotations, and/or management techniques in a field-wide treatment. These farmers are demonstrating the use of a Soil Health Management System by planting cover crops and implementing any other supporting conservation practices. Each comparison topic was selected in collaboration with the local farmer in order to support them in answering a question they had about cover crops and soil health.
Data pertaining to the economics and soil resiliency are being tracked throughout each five year demonstration. Snapshots of change are developing as these comparisons get under way and will be developed into case study reports for dissemination. These snapshots will showcase the analysis and highlight the short and long term costs and benefits of building soil health.

Related Articles

Rye cover crop

Soil Microbial Communities under Cover Crops March 12, 2019

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.

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Cattle grazing cover crops
The benefits of grazing cover crops will be one feature of the Southeast Nebraska Soil Health Conference March 6 in Beatrice.

Southeast Nebraska Soil Health Conference March 6 February 4, 2019

Soil health, cover crops, and grazing annual cover crops will be among the topics at the Southeast Nebraska Soil Health Conference on Wednesday, March 6, in Beatrice.

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Market Journal for Feb. 1, 2019

The Wonder of Hops Among Market Journal Segments February 1, 2019

This week's show includes segments on the value and wonder of hops, the importance of estate planning, a look at the grain and beef markets, the forecast for next week, and information about the Cover Crop and Soil Health Workshop.

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Jimmy Emmons, workshop speaker

Sept. 12-14 Workshops on Improving Soil Health, Adding Cover Crops August 31, 2018

Soil Health Workshops and hands-on field labs Sept. 12-14 invite growers to learn how to examine soil biota and gauge economic returns from changing their practices. Speaking at all three is Jimmy Emmons, a no-till farmer and rancher from Oklahoma.

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Allen Williams

Cover Crop, Adaptive Grazing Program Sept. 5 August 24, 2018

Allen Williams, a founding partner of Grass Fed Beef and Grass Fed Insights, will lead an all-day program on Grazing for Soil Health Sept. 5 in Fullerton. Register by Aug. 30.

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