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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

Links related to Soil Health:

* 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