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Winona County Soil & Water Conservation District

 P.O. Box 39, 400 Wilson Street

 Lewiston, MN 55952

 Phone: (507) 523-2171 Ext. 3

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment

Links related to Soil Health:

  1. National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Soil Health Data

  1. Soil Health demonstration videos in Rice County, Minnesota

  1. USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) web page on soil health

  1. Soil Health Theater

  1. A video on multi-species cover crop systems for improved soil health (29 minutes)

  1. An animated video on soil resources around the world

  1. MN NRCS -  Cover Crop information

  1. A web site devoted to cover crop data for the Upper-Midwest

  1. Cover Crop Decision Tool

  1. SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education)

  1. More information from the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District in Bismarck, North Dakota

* Not all the information in the above links and videos represent the ideas and opinions of the Winona County SWCD board or staff.

Soil Health - The continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital living system that sustains plant, animal and human health.

The 4 key factors for a healthy soil are:

  • Limit soil disturbance - no till, minimum till.

  • Keep the soil covered at all times - no till, perennial crops & cover crops.

  • Diversity - crop rotations and cover crops (multi-species cover crops).

  • Keep a live root in the soil as long as possible - perennial crops & cover crops.

Conservation practices that promote a healthy soil include:

  • No till, strip till, residue management.

  • Conservation crop rotation - diversity.

  • Cover crops.

  • Nutrient Management - reduced fertilizer use.

  • Pest Management - reduced pesticide use.

  • Livestock Management - keep on the landscape.

  • Compost.

Key benefits from a healthy soils for farmers and the public:

  • Increased net profit per acre.

  • Decreased inputs;

Fuel, time & labor - fewer trips across the field.

Fertilizers - improved nutrient cycling requires fewer inputs.

Pesticides - fewer weeds and diseases.

  • Reduced compaction.

  • Increased infiltration;

Reduced runoff.

Reduced erosion & sedimentation.

Reduced flooding.

  • Increased drought tolerance - more water holding capacity.

  • Increased yield protection & stability.

  • Improved water quality.

  • Increased soil biology.

  • improved wildlife habitat.

Soil Health

See related links at the bottom half of this page.