Healthy Soils Courses Available this Fall
By kevin.erb | 11:19 AM, 08/06/2014
This fall look for a series of online and in-field soil health trainings:
Intro to Soil Health
Our introduction to soil health course will cover the importance of soil health to crop production and dive into the the three primary characteristics of soil. The physical, chemical and biological, and the components of each that need to be addressed to improve soil health. The course covers field tests to asses soil conditions and common practices to improve soil.
Cover Crops for Healthy Soils
This online course will introduce participants to the basics of using various cover crop species to improve soil health. Course materials will provide participants with an understanding of the agronomic, economic and environmental benefits of using cover crops in diverse agricultural systems, as well as common barriers to cover crop implementation. The course will guide participants through the process of assisting producers in the proper selection, establishment, management and termination of cover crop species to meet specific soil health and production system goals.
Building on the basics from the Intro to Soil Health training, this online course will delve further into the topics of soil-water and soil-moisture management. In addition to real-farm examples will be used to reinforce course concepts, students will gain an understanding of:
• Soil-water properties related to water quality and quantity
• Benefits of improving water infiltration and soil moisture holding capacity
• Common challenges to adoption of practices that improve soil-water balance
• How to overcome those challenges.
Soil Health Management Practices
This online course will emphasize the importance of soil health in in terms of agronomic, economic and societal benefits. Course materials will explore the key agronomic management principles to improve soil health, including: reduced tillage, cover crops, crop rotations and mulching. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the benefits and challenges of implementing various soil health management practices within diverse agricultural production systems. The course will guide participants through the process of selecting appropriate soil health management practices to meet farm-specific management requirements and goals.
Healthy Soils – Field Training
This one-day field training will build on the online course topics through hands-on activities and farm scenarios. The field training will focus on the evaluation of various agricultural practices on soil health parameters and selling these concepts to producers. Participants will utilize basic evaluation methods to document soil, water and plant properties in the field. Activities will develop participants’ data collection, communication and problem-solving skills through in-field case studies.