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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374232

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems on Spatially Variable Landscapes and Soils

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Getting started with soil health testing in Missouri

item ZUBER, STACY - University Of Missouri
item Veum, Kristen
item MYERS, ROBERT - University Of Missouri
item Kitchen, Newell
item BRANDT, DONNA - University Of Missouri
item ANDERSON, STEVE - University Of Missouri
item WADE, JORDAN - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station Publication
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2021
Publication Date: 1/15/2022
Citation: Zuber, S., Myers, R., Veum, K.S., Kitchen, N.R., Wade, J. 2022. Getting started with soil health testing in Missouri. University of Missouri Extension Division. Report g6953. 10p. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Recent public initiatives and USDA programs encourage producers to focus on improving the health of their soils. Soil health is defined by the USDA-NRCS as “the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.” Soil health encompasses the biological, physical, and chemical aspects of soil function. Improving soil health will lead to a more sustainable agricultural system by protecting the soil resource while maintaining productivity and reducing environmental degradation. Current practices that producers can implement to improve their soil health include reduced tillage or no-till, cover crops, intercropping, manure, and more diverse crop rotations. Integration of livestock with cropping systems, such as grazing cover crops, can also boost soil health. Improving soil health may take time and will need to be monitored following appropriate sampling and testing protocols.