Soil Health

Soil Health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. This definition speaks to the importance of managing soils so they are sustainable for future generations.

Soil Quality is the capacity of a soil to function for specific land uses or within ecosystem boundaries. … For example, organic-matter content, biological activity, acidity, and salinity are related to the ability of a soil to store and cycle nutrients for plant growth.

Organic matter plays an important role in maintaining soil quality. Organic matter can: Increase the nutrient capacity of the soil and release nutrients to plants. Strengthen soil structure, reduce capping, encourage root development, improve aggregation and prevent erosion and compaction. Best management practices that build soil organic matter could consist of soil amendments, no-till farming practices, and residue management. South Yakima Conservation District has no-till Seed Drills for rent. If you’re interested Please contact or office for more information.


How do you test nutrient levels in soil?

  1. Use a do-it-yourself kit: This basic pH test measures your soil’s acidity and alkalinity and sometimes major nutrient content.
  2. Recommended:  Have a soil lab or Ag consultant, or do it yourself collection.  A complete soil test is a good investment because a soil lab can thoroughly analyze your soil. See A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples:

Soil analysis is a set of various chemical processes that determine the amount of available plant nutrients in the soil, but also the chemical, physical and biological soil properties important for plant nutrition, or “soil health”.

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