Fred's Points to Ponder

What is Soil Quality?

The terms “soil quality” and “soil health” are used interchangeably. There are many definitions of soil quality, basically, it is the ability of the soil to:

  1. Capture, absorb and hold water (soil moisture)
  2. Support plant and animal life
  3. Act as an environmental buffer

How to Improve Soil Quality

Management greatly affects soil quality.  Farmers throughout Kansas are increasing the amount of soil organic matter in their land (soil) and improving the soil’s quality by following some basic agronomic principles.  They are:

  1. Use soil tests, nutrient management, pest management, crop rotations, etc.
  2. Leave adequate amounts of crop residue on the soil surface each year (at least 2 to 4 tons/acre/year).
  3. Use cover crops, especially on fields where low residue producing crops such as soybean and sunflowers are grown.
  4. Eliminate all tillage, even light disking.
  5. Practice continuous long-term conservation tillage.

Also, talk with other conservation tillage farmers.  They can give you some ideas on how they are changing the quality and productivity of their land (soil)