Why does Soil Health matter?

1. Healthy soils sustain agricultural productivity.

2. Healthy soils reduce production costs.

3. Healthy soils promote nutrient cycling.

4. Healthy soils reduce nutrient leaching and sediment loss.

5. Healthy soils support biological pest controls.

6. Healthy soils better regulate water and air supply.



Soil tests are an important first step at assessing current soil resource conditions in order to adopt management strategies that promote nutrient retention and cycling within fields saving the producer time and money. The University of Connecticut Extension is working to support Connecticut farmers with a limited number of free soil tests at UConn’s Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory in exchange for partnering with our conservation practice research. It’s that easy!

"...the type of soil management that gives the greatest immediate return leads to a rapid deterioration of soil productivity, whereas the type that maintains or improves productivity, provides the highest income over a generation."
—Charles Kellogg,  1936

Principles of Soil Health

Soil Health consists of five principles which are:

1. Keep it covered.

2. Minimize soil disturbance.

3. Maximize plant diversity.

4. Keep plants growing throughout the year to feed and protect the soil.

5. Livestock integration to promote nutrient cycling.

mound of soil

What is a Conservation Plan?

1. A Conservation Plan outlines a system of agricultural practices that enhance crop production, while improving water quality, air quality, energy efficiency and wildlife habitat.  Some recommended Conservation Practices include: Diversified Rotation, Cover Crops, Reduced Tillage, Mulching, Nutrient Management, Prescribed Grazing, and Integrated Pest Management.

2. It saves energy by using less intensive tillage.

3. It saves water and increases drought tolerance by improving a soils water holding capacity and infiltration rate.

4. It reduces disease and pest problems.

5. It improves sustainability for farms and ranches.

6. It provides Environmental, Economic, and Social benefits.