Are you interested in the health of your soil? CCRCD's new Natural Resource Coordinator, Victor Briones, can preform a soil health assessment on your farm or ranch!
Victor explains the importance of a soil health assessment and the information gathered from a variety of tests in the article below.
Soil health is an important part of agriculture. Having poor soils leads to a lower crop yield and as the years go by it’ll keep decreasing. However, if you have good soil health you improve your crop yield and may even increase it over the years by incorporating conservation management practices that will improve soil health. How can you find out if you have good or poor soil though? Simple, by requesting to have a soil assessment done on your farm or ranch. A soil assessment is a tool provided by the NRCS that can be utilized by farmers and ranchers to evaluate the soil health properties of their land. Soil assessments measure soil quality by looking at the physical, chemical, and biological properties and other basic functions of soil. To evaluate the properties and basic functions, we use a soil quality test kit consisting of multiple tests that are done in the field and in a lab. The tests are designed to be easy to follow so that they can be conducted by anybody, whether it be NRCS personnel or the producers themselves.
Typically, a soil assessment is conducted at two to three sites on a producer’s ranch or farm. When deciding on what sites to test, we tend to look at the ones that are going to be representative of the entire acreage. We also want to test problem areas, so we often ask producers if there are any areas of concern so we can include them as a site to assess. By testing multiple sites, we get an overall measurement of the land’s soil health and can recommend different conservation management practices that will improve soil health. We also recommend that a soil assessment is conducted every one to two years to compare the data from each year and see how conservation management practices have benefited soil health.
Requesting a soil assessment for your farm or ranch is the perfect place to start for those that have been wanting to step into the realm of sustainable agriculture. And for others that have already implemented conservation management practices, this is a way for you to see how much your soil health has improved and potentially a way for you to see what more you can do. Whatever the case may be, a soil assessment will give you information about your soil that you need and want to hear. Give the Colusa County RCD a call and request to speak with the Natural Resource Coordinator, Victor Briones, to set up a time to have a soil assessment conducted, or you can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.