This CALS-sponsored research investigated management practices that graziers can implement to improve soil health, productivity, and ecosystem services. Researchers measured soil health using four indicators on samples collected in 100 fields across Wisconsin during two growing seasons. They collected farm-specific management information, assessed legume and grass cover, and measured greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers then analyzed the relative importance of soil characteristics and management choices on soil health values. This is a first step in benchmarking soil health in Wisconsin pastures.
Matt Ruark of Soil Science is led this project from 2020-2022, working with Randy Jackson, Agronomy; Michel Wattiaux, Animal and Dairy Sciences and CIAS; Jacob Grace, formerly CIAS and now at the Savannah Institute; and Research Assistant Abby Augarten of the UW-Madison Agroecology Program.