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Why is soil health important?
Answer from Nick Guetterman, Bucyrus, KS:
Healthy soil grows healthy crops. Healthy Soils can receive and store more water and nutrients. Water infiltrates healthy soil at a much faster rate so less water runs off in a big rain event. A healthy soil will also store more of that water to give to plants during prolonged dry periods. Nutrients and old crop residue also cycle faster in a healthy soil mineralizing them for the current growing crop. Bottom line is healthy soil are more resilient, allowing your plants and your farm’s bottom line to be more resilient.
Answer from Candy Thomas, NRCS, Salina, KS:
Soil health is important because it is married to soil function. Soil function makes landowners profitable. By following the principles your soils will function at a high level by cycling nutrients, taking in and storing water, allowing air and gas exchange, increase plant health and resistance to insect and disease presence, mitigation of chemicals in soil—breaking down your pesticides, and providing good yields and resiliency when weather conditions are not optimal. The principles: increasing biodiversity with plants and animals, keeping the soil covered, minimizing disturbance and adding living roots, can be implemented anywhere in the state, doesn’t matter where you are you just need to figure out how they work where you are at.