NDSU Extension - Griggs County

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January 26

The Extension Connection

By Megan Vig

This past week I attended two workshops on soil health. The first was a café talk in McVille with NDSU Extension Specialists Abbey Wick, Kevin Sedivec, and Miranda Meehan leading conversations with producers on what their operations are doing to build soil health. The second workshop was the Soil and Soil Water Workshop held in Fargo. Speakers in Fargo highlighted current fertilizer recommendations, cover crops in 2017, the mysterious nitrogen triangle, Barnes soil series in North Dakota, history of tillage, gypsum use, the sulfur dilemma, and lastly, North Dakota clay chemistry and its link to crop potassium nutrition. With the two days of soil science on my mind, it served as a reminder that what we see for diversity and interactions of organisms above ground, the amount of diversity, interactions, and chemical changes that occurs beneath the soil surface can be mind-boggling. Though we cannot see those microscopic interactions at work beneath the soil, we can gauge how well the environment is by what is produced above. Are you happy with what you see produced above or are you looking to make improvements?

Soil health can mean something different to each producer. It may mean soil erosion control, moisture management, trafficability during wet periods, temperature management of soil, weed management, or salinity/sodicity management. Making your soil “healthier” is an evolving goal with many different approaches. If you are interested in hearing about other producers’ approaches to soil health and want to get involved in soil health discussions with specialists, NDSU Extension has two upcoming workshops to attend. February 6th is the Griggs County Crop Improvement Meeting at 10 am at the Courthouse. Specialist Naeem Kalwar and Soil Health Technician Luke Ressler will share on soil health. February 20th is another café talk at the McVille Café with Abbey Wick and Forage Researcher Marisol Berti that is open to all that are interested in making cover crops work with their cropping systems. If you have any questions or would like to be notified of next year’s Soil and Soil Water Workshop, please call 797-3312.

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