The Dirt

Browse these helpful soil management resources to improve your soils health.

Never Say Never About Soil Management

Posted by Randy Darr on Mar 22, 2018 12:09:00 PM

Many years ago, I attended a conference that included a presentation from a well known professor from a large Midwestern university. He made a comment that caused a handful of individuals to want to get up and leave the presentation—myself included.

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Topics: Soil Health

How Should I Prioritize Changes in Soil Health?

Posted by Randy Darr on Mar 19, 2018 7:46:00 PM

Soil health” has become a buzzword in recent years. Generally speaking, soil health refers to three main types of characteristics: physical, chemical, and biological. Until recent years, changing the physical and chemical aspects of soil has been the primary focus for enhancing soil health. In the past, measuring the biological life of soil was too expensive and labor intensive to be feasible for most farmers. Today, this is much more practical to accomplish. As a result, we can now look at all three facets of the soil when assessing its health.

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Topics: Soil Health

The Most Valuable Tools for Sustainable Land Management

Posted by Jill Miller on Mar 5, 2018 11:54:00 AM

Sustainable land management is a strategy to maximize the long-term productivity and resilience of land. To be most effective, such a strategy must take into account the resources of the land itself, the effects of the environment, and the impact of human activities.

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Topics: Soil Sampling

How Often Should I Test My Soil? Part 2

Posted by Randy Darr on Feb 22, 2018 4:50:00 PM

In the previous article in our “How often should I test my soil?” series, we gave a brief history of soil testing and how it has been adapted over time. At the end of that article, we suggested that appropriate soil testing frequency depends on how precisely you wish to manage fertility inputs and eliminate guessing. When deciding how tightly to manage your soil, consider the following.

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Topics: Soil Testing

Have You Scheduled Your Spring Soil Health Check-Up?

Posted by Steve Shaw on Feb 16, 2018 11:39:04 AM


Consistent Soil Health Check-Upsaka annual soil testing and the resulting soil data analysis, provide you with vital information to maintain optimal soil and plant health. 
More testing and more data = more accurate inputs, saving you money on products you may not necessarily need and creating more profit and improved yields – a win-win situation.
READ THIS to see how consistent soil testing and management reduced costs and increased yields for this Illinois family farm.
Call today for a  FREE Soil Health Consult!
See if SoilRight is right for you and schedule a Spring Soil Health Check-Up!
  Your FREE Soil Health Consult Includes:
  • Brief assessment of your situation
  • Main concerns and challenges 
  • Explanation of how SoilRight works and benefits
  • Discussion around your potential needs and if SoilRight is right for you! 


FREE Soil Health Consult

(Contact Steve today, before it's too late for Spring Testing!) 



Call Steve Shaw, to schedule a Soil Health Check-Up or for more information about Soil Health Management Services by SoilRight. 

 (618) 372-7448 |





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Topics: Soil Consulting, Soil Health, Soil Testing, Soil Sampling

How Often Should I Test My Soil?

Posted by Randy Darr on Dec 20, 2017 12:15:00 PM

Many times through the years, I have explained the history of soil testing in agriculture and its evolution as an approved farming practice. I usually begin by asking the question, “When did soil testing first begin as we know it today?” followed by, “What did farmers generally test for in the beginning?” and finally, “What do we typically test for today?”

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Topics: Soil Health, Soil Testing, Soil Sampling

To Till or Not to Till: Is That a Question?

Posted by Randy Darr on Nov 29, 2017 4:40:00 PM

Tillage practices have changed.

I remember a time—when I was much younger—when moldboard plows were considered a must-have tool for every farming operation. I have fond memories operating this equipment, plowing fields until the wee hours of the morning. It was fun seeing the soil turn over as the tractor and plow moved down the field. Then, as an older teenager, the chisel plow appeared on our farm. This made things much easier because we didn’t have to find last year’s furrow to plow it in rather than out. Getting away from the moldboard plow allowed fields to be more level over time. However, both methods miss one important thing: considering of whether the land actually needs to be plowed.

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Topics: Soil Health

Why Do I Have to Go Broke Trying to Feed the World?

Posted by Randy Darr on Nov 9, 2017 3:45:00 PM

In the world of agriculture, and especially in commodity crops, farmers have always wanted to grow as much as they possibly can. It is in a farmer’s nature to always strive to grow more year after year. “Commodity crops” are those whose prices are set at the commodity exchanges and include corn, soybeans, wheat, beef, pork and a whole host of other mass-produced products.

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Topics: Ag Business, Ag Consulting

Soil Sampling: More Than Meets the Eye

Posted by Randy Darr on Oct 19, 2017 11:39:00 AM

The most important aspect of attaining soil data that is correct and usable is to first take quality soil samples. Soil sampling is a combination of art and science, and getting the best possible information requires attention to several factors. There are two primary methods of sampling: one is very straightforward and requires little thought; the other requires an understanding of soil characteristics and more extensive training.

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Topics: Soil Sampling

Economics and Soil Health

Posted by Randy Darr on Sep 25, 2017 6:33:00 PM

When considering soil health and fertility, there are different schools of thought on how to best manage soil and keep it productive. One method is what’s called a “buildup and maintenance” program. This focuses achieving high fertility levels and maintaining them. The second is a “sufficiency” approach. This aims to build levels of fertility that allow for “sufficient” production. Finally, the goal of the “base saturation” method is to attain particular concentrations of positively charged elements in the soil. All three of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on where you are in the world. The one glaring weakness of all three, however, is a failure to account for the big economic picture.

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Topics: Soil Consulting, Soil Health