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Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
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Author: Andrew McGuire

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Contrary Science; Cover Crop Mixtures, Monocultures, and Mechanisms

Planting diverse cover crop mixtures will increase soil microbial diversity and achieve increased benefits over monocultures because of the synergistic interactions of the different plant…

MAXIMIZE and minimize; Two Principles for Managing Soil Health.

Soil health management can be distilled to two principles: Maximize photosynthesis & minimize tillage. These are principles; they do not tell you what practices you…

Just-In-Time Soil Health

How much is enough soil organic matter? “The more, the better” is often the assumed answer, or at least as much as the native soil…

How does regenerative agriculture reduce nutrient inputs?

“When you start farming regeneratively, you rely a lot less on external inputs, such as fertilizers…"  - Tom Tolputt One of regenerative agriculture’s extraordinary claims…

Soil (health) evaluation begins by asking “What’s the problem with my soil?”

Soil health - the pursuit that launched a thousand soil tests. I have not actually counted them, but many people are working on many ways…

Soil biology and soil organic matter; What do recent discoveries mean for soil management?

This Changes Everything. That is how everything is presented in today’s media. New cars, new policies, new science. An example of the latter are the…

2018 Cover Crop Monoculture vs Mixture Update

Since my 2016 post, “Cover crop best bet is monoculture, not mix,” I have continued to follow the research on cover crop mixtures looking for…

Big Biomass and More Often; A Green Manure Frequency Hypothesis

In a previous post, I argued that green manures require big biomass to achieve benefits that outweigh the damage done by tilling the crop into…

Without big biomass, green manures are a step backwards

Green manuring is the lesser-used option in cover cropping. Most cover crops are killed and left on the soil surface, but green manures are tilled…

Soils under corn and tallgrass prairie; research to challenge our assumptions

It is often thought that nature is diverse and that the move to agriculture reduces that diversity which results in reduced function, or ecosystem services.…
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