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MySoilHealth is a new page to talk about soil health, what it means, how to measure it and how to improve it. It also provides me with an opportunity to blog and share information and ideas, discuss management practices, and respond to questions from readers like yourself.
While this page will start out primarily as a blog, over time we will expand the page to include additional information and tools. It is always better to start with a crawl and start rather than delay launching while trying to figure out how to make the best web page possible and have all the tools and functions at the launch.
Blogs are popular, are web-based and run by an individual or small group of individuals that is updated regularly. It is written in an informal or conversational style, often spontaneous, 350 to 500 words in length and not only shares information but engage readers in a conversation. It is often written by an ‘expert,’ such as me, and often in first-person prose.
Today soil health is an important topic, it is getting a lot of press and everyone wants to be involved in talking about it, advising on how to manage it or selling something to improve it. I consider soil health ‘the undiscovered country,’ taking the title from a Star Trek movie released in 1991. Why do I call it ‘the undiscovered country?’ Because if we are going to take crop productivity to higher and more sustainable levels producers must learn to farm the soil just like they farm crops. Yet most producers and practitioners don’t yet realize this and continue to treat the soil as something to drive on, put seed in or apply fertilizer or chemicals to. And I must admit we haven’t even discovered all the ways to achieve and manage soil health, beyond adopting no-till and cover crops.
As an agronomist, farmer and soil health practitioner I view the world of soil health through how to understand it, how to measure it, how to improve it and the economic benefits I gain from it. We must understand what the soil can tell us, what to measure, have simple tools for measuring and set goals to improve health. I have been practicing soil health on our family farm in Northeast Nebraska for over a decade and have made great strides in improve soil productivity and yield while reducing the impacts of soil variability on yield.
I look forward to writing these MySoilHealth blogs on insightful soil health topics. Please check in every few weeks to read my next blog and share it on Facebook and twitter. And don’t be reluctant to get involved with a response or question. You can reach me at email@example.com or ring 402-649-5919.
I want to thank Doug Miller and Midwest Bio-Tech Inc. for sponsoring this page. While Midwest Bio-Tech is a commercial company offering biological product and providing soil health laboratory services, MySoilHealth page will remain non-commercial.
Dan Davidson is a PhD agronomist, soil health expert and part time farmer from Nebraska.