Blogs provide an excellent opportunity to share information and ideas, discuss management practices and respond to questions from readers. In short – it is a place for a virtual agronomist, like myself to share information on soil health, i.e. what is it, how to measure it and how to manage it and discuss a host of other related topics and ideas.
Blogs are popular and by definition they 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 written by an ‘expert’ such as myself and often in first-person prose.
My new blog joins Dr. Will Brinton’s technical blog that’s already posted on the Solvita website. Dr. Brinton’s blog describes the science around measurements of soil health and factors that affect those measurements. He will continue to post his valuable insights. I will post a biweekly practical blog, titled ‘From the Field’ on a variety of topics related to soil health, measurement and soil improvement. And from time to time we will ask other experts to share their insight on soil health.
Soil health is an important topic, it is getting a lot of press and everyone wants to be involved. 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 begin to farm the soil just like they farm crops. Yet most producers and practitioners don’t realize this. And I must admit we haven’t even discovered all the ways to achieve this, beyond no-till and cover crops.
As an agronomist, farmer and practitioner I view the world of soil health through how to understand it, how to measure it and most importantly how to improve it. We must understand what to measure, have simple tools to measure and monitor and then set goals to improve health. I have been practicing soil health on our family farm for over a decade now and have made great strides. But only recently have I begun to measure what is happening by using Solvita tools to measure respiration and the Haney test to understand is happening. This has opened new avenues of understanding.
I look forward to writing these ‘From the Field’ blogs on insightful soil health topics. Please check in every other week to read my next blog and don’t be reluctant to get involved. Send a question. comment or topic to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to talk about a question or topic you can always ring me at 402-649-5919.
Dr. Davidson is a seasoned agronomist who has worked in industry in research, communications and education, and technology transfer. He is also a farmer and is involved in the family farm in Northeast Nebraska where they raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, grass hay and pasture. He is knowledgeable about all aspects of crop production across the Corn Belt. And one of his greatest passions is understanding and improving soil health.