April's Ag Advice by April Borders Soil is the storehouse of water and food (nutrients) for living plants and microorganisms. Minerals from the soil are absorbed by crops and provide nutrients for all living things. We depend upon soil to produce the food and fiber we need to survive.
Soil erosion is a big concern for us. Erosion, through the actions of wind, water or other forces, is costly to the environment. Whether we are managing our fields or a construction site, knowing how easily the soil on that site erodes is important to our management practices. We also need to know what the tolerable soil loss for a site is.
Farmers can take advantage of new technology and information to help reduce erosion in their fields, including different tillage systems (conservation tillage, no-till, strip-till or ridge-till), and windbreaks beside fields to buffer them from prevailing winds.
Crop rotation is also an important option that farmers have to protect their soils. Since different crops have different nutrient needs, replenishing the soil's nutrients is also an important consideration. Farmers replenish the soil by leaving crop stubble in the fields and by planting leguminous plants that can give nitrogen back to the soil.
Knowing how to best manage our soils and get the most from our crops can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. There are many clinics and workshops offered to help you make these decisions and to help you make your farming operation more profitable.
Here is a list of upcoming programs that will help you in making some of your farming decisions.
Dec. 9 � SCS Soil Workshop
This workshop will be held at the 4-H Building in Vermillion from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. New Clay County Soil Survey Books will be distributed.
Dec. 10 � Quality Counts
Forum � Asian Perspective
on Protein & Oil
This forum will be from 11:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Best Western Ramkota in Sioux Falls. It is sponsored by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
Dec. 11 � Soils Fertility
This update will be held at the Community Center in Parker from 1 to 4:30 p.m. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about fertility and soil testing issues you have noted in the field or perhaps heard about.
Dec. 16-17 � No-Till Clinic
The No-Till Clinic is held in Mitchell and has a wide variety of topics that are covered. The clinic is Dec. 16 from 12:30 to 4:50 p.m. and again Dec. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Registration cost for this program is $20 for both days if received by Dec. 9.
If you would like more information about any of the above programs please feel free to contact the Extension Office at 677-7111.