Research | Soil Health |

Soil Health

At this Brookdale Research Field, MBFI is researching soil health. This page provides information about this particular research project; including the background, objectives, and updates.

  • Project Lead: Marla Riekman, Land Management Specialist (Manitoba Agriculture), Send email
  • Project Start: May 2016
  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Location: Brookdale Research Field

 

About This Project

Grassland management is dependent on long-term sustainability of the soil; without good structure and nutrient managment/nutrient release the soil will not be able to sustain forage growth. Soil Health is a much-talked about topic in the grazing world but there isn’t a lot of long-term data to support the claims. It is important that, upon establishing a site such as MBFI Brookdale Farm, we take long-term measurements to truly see the benefits of grazing and forage management on the soil.

For this project, soil health will be analyzed not only in fields of different grazing/forage management practices, but also across different landscape positions. Landscape position can have a larger impact on soil quality and health measurements than the management practice applied to the land. Therefore, it is important that we take these measurements across the landscape to adjust for these inherent factors and have a true understanding of the management practice on the soil.

Objectives

  1. To better understand the impact of grazing and forage management on soil health.
  2. To study how the soil, in combination with grazing management practices, effect long term forage and grassland productivity.
  3. To measure the soil health over time.

Update

As of August 2016 – Transects have been set up to capture a cross-section of the landscape (upper, middle and lower slope positions) within the planned grazing, continuous grazing and hay fields.  Each transect and landscape position was sampled (to establish a baseline) and analysed for nutrient content and soil health (Haney test).  Soil was also collected from each site for aggregate analysis – soil has been air-dried and will be sieved to determine aggregate size distribution.

This project is a long-term study on the effect of grazing practice on soil health.  The data collected in 2016 will be archived until transects are re-sampled to compare to the baseline.  It is expected that future sampling will occur in 3 and 6 years (2019 and 2022).

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