Soil Health Initiative Overview
Soil is composed of decomposing organic matter, weathered rock, air and water. It is a vital ecosystem for supporting life and the basis of agriculture. Intensive agriculture practices can exhaust soils reducing water infiltration, water retention and productivity while increasing erosion, compaction and nutrient runoff. Managing a healthy soil will improve its productivity, reduce turbidity and eutrophication in our lakes and rivers and preserve the soil for future use. Mower Soil & Water Conservation District’s soil health initiative seeks to preserve this natural resource, educate on soil health practices, provide resources for soil health practices and coordinate research with partner institutions.
SOIL HEATH PRACTICES
- Reducing or eliminating tillage: disturbing the soil can remove organic matter and increase erosion.
- Cover crops: active roots will prevent compaction and create pores for air and water infiltration. Planting a diverse cover crop mix sequesters carbon and nutrients.
- Crop rotation: reduces the amount of fertilizer applied by naturally restoring nutrients.
- Cattle grazing or manure application: diversifies the sources of carbon
Mower Soil & Water Conservation District purchased a new, no-tillage drill for the 2018 planting season. Local conservation groups helped pay for the drill to support clean water and habitat development in Mower County. This drill provides a low-cost option to plant prairie, cover crops, pasture and more.