Focus on Soils - 2016 Innovation Day Overview

Soil health is a vital component of all cropping systems. The economic success of any farming operation depends on farmers maintaining and improving the health of their soil and water. Michigan State University (MSU) hosted its first Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Soils on Aug. 24, 2016, at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center (3775 S. Reese Rd, Frankenmuth, Michigan). 

The educational field day delivered cutting-edge information on soil health topics ranging from nutrient management and soil quality to compaction and tile technology. Farmers heard from science-based experts to see the results of various techniques on both crop growth and soil quality as well as soil testing and plant diagnostics resources offered by MSU.

“Soil health is a broad topic that plays an important role for farmers across all cropping systems,” said Ron Bates, director of agriculture and agribusiness for MSU Extension. 

Participants attending the program were eligible to receive up to 5 RUP credits for commercial or private or 1A categories and up to 8 CEU’s for Certified Crop Advisor’s (CCA;‘s) two in nutrient management and six in soil and water. In addition, attendees heard from MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon over lunch.

Throughout the day, farmers had the opportunity to participate in nine sessions focused on:

  • Nutrient management
    • How technology can enhance decision making about nitrogen usage and rates.
    • A comprehensive look at phosphorus management and the related economics and environmental factors.
  • Soil quality

    • Techniques to improve soil quality, including the architecture of cover crops, extended rotations and interseeding.
  • Compaction

    • The effects of soil structure, controlled traffic and various tillage methods. 
    • Comparison of tires versus tracks and the pros and cons of each in relation to soil compaction.
    • Reducing soil compaction through contact pressure and adjustments in pounds per square inch (psi).
  • Tile technology 

    • An in-depth look at the mobility of nutrients from the soil to tile lines.
    • New tile options to help limit nutrient movement and soil loss.

In addition, MSU recruiters will be on hand to provide students with information about all of the degrees available through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Focus on Soils Sessions

MSU‘s Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Soils was an educational field day that delivered cutting-edge information on soil health topics ranging from nutrient management and soil quality to compaction and tile technology. Farmers had an opportunity to hear science-based expertise and see the results of various techniques on both crop growth and soil quality. They also learned about the soil testing and plant diagnostics resources offered by MSU. CCA credits in soil and water were available.

Presentations include:

Healthy Soil ‒ Dig a Little, Learn a Lot

Successful Cover Crops From Seed Selection to Planting Techniques 

How Do Your Soils Handle Rain? Understand the Impact of Rainfall on Various Tillage and Cropping Systems

Making the Most of Your Nitrogen and Your Dollar

Save Money and Protect Your Watershed with Wise Phosphorus Decisions

Make Your Soil Smoke and Load Your Tool Box for Optimum Soil Health

Reducing Compaction (and Increasing Profits) With the Right Tires, Air Pressure and Weight Distribution

Digging into the Science of Soil Compaction: How to Prevent, Detect and Alleviate Soil Compaction

Get Water and Nutrients Where You Want With Drainage Management