Some Final Thoughts

Some Final Thoughts

Some Final Thoughts

The old folk saying “The farmer’s footprint is the best fertilizer” could be modified to “The farmer’s footprint is the best path to improved soil health.” If you don’t already do so, begin to regularly observe and record the variability in crop yield across your fields. Take the time to track production from the various sections of your fields that seem different. Compare your observations with the results of your soil tests, so you can be sure that the various areas within a field are receiving optimum management. Each of the farming systems discussed above has its limitations and opportunities for building better soils, although the approaches and details may differ. Whatever crops you grow, when you creatively combine a reasonable number of practices that promote high-quality soils, most of your farm’s soil health problems should be solved along the way, and the yield of your crops should improve. The soil will have more available nutrients, more water for plants to use, and better tilth. There should be fewer problems with diseases, nematodes, and insects, all resulting in reduced use of expensive inputs. By concentrating on the practices that build high-quality soils, you also will leave a legacy of land stewardship for your children and their children to inherit and follow.

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