February 7, 2022

Mechanics of Soil Compaction in Pastures

Soil compaction can be a big problem on any kind of farmland, whether it’s cropland or pasture. Soil compaction makes it harder for plant roots to penetrate the soil, reduces water infiltration and air exchange, limits the ability of plants to use some nutrients, and increases the chances of water erosion. Traffic of any kind, […]

June 28, 2021

Using Wood Ash to Improve Pasture Soils and Forages

Graziers in many parts of the country often deal with acidic soils that are low in several nutrients. In many parts of the United States and Canada, farmers could improve their pastures by occasionally applying wood ash. Wood ash is a byproduct of several industries that burn wood for energy to make electricity, steam, or […]

March 15, 2021

What Do Plant Roots Do for Soil Health?

“Maximizing Living Roots” is the third principle of soil health and it’s focused on feeding the soil. When I first saw this phrase, I confess–it struck me as a bit odd:  since living roots can’t exist without whole living plants, why not just say “maximize living plants?” After a while it dawned on me—if we […]

February 29, 2016

How Much Phosphorus Do We Want in Our Soils?

Phosphorus is one of 17 chemical elements that all plants need, and it’s one of the nutrients that we sometimes need to add to soils in fairly high quantities. Phosphorus levels in soils depend on the ancestry of the soil and how it’s been managed during its farming history. Phosphorus availability in soils is very […]

January 19, 2015

Should We Test Soils For Molybdenum, Cobalt, and Selenium?

From time to time I get questions from farmers asking how they can have their soil samples tested for molybdenum, cobalt, or selenium. Each of these elements, along with many others that aren’t tested routinely in soils, is important. In some cases, these nutrients are required by the plants, while in others they may be […]

August 11, 2014

Got Trefoil?

Here’s a great forage that you should think about for your pastures, what it can do for you, and how you can manage it best so it can do its job.

June 2, 2014

When to Use Lime, Gypsum and Elemental Sulfur

So you got that soils report and you’re trying to figure out what you need to do to make your soils work better for your forages. Lime helps release calcium for use by plants, but there are times when you shouldn’t use it.

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