Soil Fertility and Management

Information on soil fertility and management of cover crops, including soil quality and conditions such as rill erosion, compaction and crusting. Tips on levels of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and limestone and nutrient management planning.

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Blake Vince, no-till grain farmer from Ontario, showcases a latex cast of earthworm burrows, old root canals, and cracks and fissures from his soil with PSU Extension Educator Claire Coombs. Sjoerd Duiker.
Northeast Cover Crop Council Conference Showcases Cover Crop Innovations - News News
This Conference featured a wide variety of cover crop presentations and networking opportunities for farmers, industry, government and non-government organizations, extension and research. More
Figure 1. Cool-season perennials are the mainstay of pastured dairies in the Northeast. Credit: Sjoerd Duiker
No-Till Annuals to Beat the Summer Slump on a Dairy Farm - Articles Articles

No-Till Annuals to Beat the Summer Slump on a Dairy Farm

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA, Dave Wilson, Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D.

This case study demonstrates how a grazing dairy farmer in southeastern Pennsylvania beats the summer slump with cool- and warm-season annuals established with no-till practices. More
Posts between the oat and annual strip create a fence between strips that are grazed and strips with grain crops. Photo by Sjoerd Duiker
Integrating Grazing in No-Till Systems on a Grain Farm - Articles Articles

Integrating Grazing in No-Till Systems on a Grain Farm

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA, Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D.

The adoption of no-tillage systems in Pennsylvania creates opportunities to graze after harvest. This case study examines the integration of grazing and no-tillage on a grain farm. More
Figure 1: Well-managed perennial pasture can be a highly sustainable form of land use. Photo by Sjoerd Duiker
Plant Diversity to Extend the Grazing Season - Articles Articles

Plant Diversity to Extend the Grazing Season

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

This case study shows how a farmer in northwestern Pennsylvania is using annuals and perennials to expand his grazing season while managing for reduced inputs and improved soil health through integration of grazing and no-tillage. More
Wet soils this year have been highly susceptible to compaction and rut formation.
You've Got Ruts. Now What? - News News

You've Got Ruts. Now What?

10/31/2018

There’s still time this year to remedy harvest-induced soil compaction. More
Cover Crops and Soil Health Field Day
Cover Crops and Soil Health Field Day - Workshops Workshops
View and learn about diverse cover crops. More
Soil compaction threat during silage harvest is high this year. Image Credit: Mark Madden
Soil Compaction Threat is High - News News

Soil Compaction Threat is High

09/12/2018

After another prolonged period of rainfall, the soils across most of the commonwealth are again saturated. More
Funding is Available to Develop Soil Conservation and Nutrient Management Plans
Funding is Available to Develop Soil Conservation and Nutrient Management Plans - News News
Funding is now available to farmers to have soil conservation and nutrient management plans written. More
Oats. Photo: E. Swackhamer
Cover Crop Considerations after Small Grain Harvest - Articles Articles

Cover Crop Considerations after Small Grain Harvest

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

Planting a soil building cover crop after small grain harvest has many benefits, but needs to be tailored to your farm’s needs. More
Soil erosion is still taking its toll in Pennsylvania but can be addressed by using proper management
Eliminating Soil Erosion - Articles Articles

Eliminating Soil Erosion

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

Soil erosion is still our number one sustainability issue. With the excessive rainfall we’ve had many fields are showing the scars of rills and gullies. And yet … We have the tools – so let’s put them to work. More
Hairy vetch, rye, annual ryegrass, and clover cover crop being grazed. Photo Credit: Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State University
Grazing Crop Residues and Cover Crops - Articles Articles

Grazing Crop Residues and Cover Crops

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

Grazing has been largely excluded from our croplands but is receiving new interest as an additional profit center for farmers as well as a way to improve soil. More
Photo Credit: Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Extension.
Repairing Erosion Damage and Protecting Your Fields - Articles Articles

Repairing Erosion Damage and Protecting Your Fields

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

Reports have come in about concentrated flow leading to rills and gully formation over the winter. How can you repair that and avoid it from happening again? More
Photo Credit: Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Extension.
Threat of ‘Incidental Transfer’ of Manure to Streams - Articles Articles
With soil profiles being fully recharged with water and future runoff, creates the threat of ‘incidental transfer’ of nutrients and dissolved organic carbon from surface applied manure to streams and sinkholes. More
A field must have greater than 25% crop residue cover or a cover crop to be eligible for winter manure spreading, along with other restrictions. Photo credit: Charlie White
The Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Manure Spreading - Articles Articles
If winter manure spreading is absolutely unavoidable, follow these requirements to do it legally. More
Manure Fertilizer, Photo Credit: Nicole Santangelo, PSU
Is Your Farm Ready for Inspection? - Articles Articles
By the end of 2018, 1 in 5 Pennsylvania farms within the Chesapeake Bay watershed will have been visited by the Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Inspections Program. More
Improve soil structure and infiltration by adding cover crops to your rotation.
Soil Health Workshop - Workshops Workshops
Learn how to improve your farm's soils and increase profitability through no-till, cover crops and crop diversity in this discussion-driven workshop. More
Can I Apply Potash in Winter?
Can I Apply Potash in Winter? - Articles Articles

Can I Apply Potash in Winter?

Charles White, Nicole Santangelo

Ensuring properly timed potassium applications where they are needed when conditions permit. More
How quickly can you increase soil organic matter content?
Can I Increase Soil Organic Matter by 1% This Year? - Articles Articles

Can I Increase Soil Organic Matter by 1% This Year?

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

Soil organic matter is a primary measure of soil health. It is important to monitor soil organic matter and try to increase it. But what is a realistic goal? More
Photo caption: Charlie White, PSU
Charlie White, Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Extension Specialist - News News
The torch is passed in the soil fertility and nutrient management Extension program. More
5 species cover crop mix
Cover Crop Field Day and Presentation - Workshops Workshops
Free field day and presentation for conventional and organic growers. Information on cover crop utilization and what we learned with cover crop research in field and vegetable cropping systems. More
Soil compaction at grain harvest and while grazing
Soil compaction at grain harvest and while grazing - Articles Articles

Soil compaction at grain harvest and while grazing

Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA

Try to avoid soil compaction if you still have corn and soybeans to harvest, or if you graze animals. More
Moldboard plowing, shown here, is a type of primary tillage. Photo courtesy of Penn State Extension
Introduction to Soils: Managing Soils - Articles Articles
This article provides information on how different soil management practices affect soil quality and crop production. More
Collecting a soil sample to measure soil quality. Photo courtesy of Penn State Extension.
Introduction to Soils: Soil Quality - Articles Articles
Soil quality is how well soil does what we want it to do. A healthy, high-quality soil is fertile, has good soil structure, and is biologically active. More
Recolección de una muestra para análisis de suelo. Foto cortesiá de Penn State Extension
Introducción a los Suelos: La Calidad de los Suelos - Articles Articles
La calidad del suelo es lo bien que el suelo hace lo que queremos que haga. Un suelo sano y de alta calidad es fértil, tiene buena estructura del suelo y es biológicamente activo. More
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