Drought shines light on importance of soil health

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Droughts and wildfires have made it difficult for farmers going into this planting season, making soil health even more important this year.

Heading into the planting season, farmers have been trying to maintain good soil health. A conservationist says one way of maintaining healthy soil includes minimizing soil disturbance because tilling soil can lead to a loss of moisture.

He says soil armor, or cover, helps crops maintain their moisture, as well as moderating soil temperatures. Other ways of preserving soil health include diversifying crops, planting cover crops and integrating livestock.

Darrell Oswald, of the Burleigh County Soil District, said, “We want to see positive trends upward in soil organic matter, aggregate stability, water holding capacity, infiltration, those type of things.”

Oswald says another important aspect is minimizing the amount of rainfall runoff.

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