This project will quantify the influence of management practices on specific soil health parameters at sites throughout Alberta. This project will have value for producers in all agricultural commodities. Soil health is the basis for production of annual and perennial crops, grains and forages, horticultural crops and all types of livestock. There is increasing interest in the link between soil health, plant health and ultimately food quality. Nutritious, safe food is important for consumers. Society is also concerned with carbon both in the air and the soil.
“Soil health, sometimes referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans”
Measuring and monitoring soil health parameters is relatively new to most Alberta producers. Past evaluations have focused on chemical components, primarily for fertilizer recommendations.
There is increasing interest in the link between general soil health, plant health and ultimately food quality. Nutritious, safe food is important for consumers. Society is also concerned with carbon both in the air and the soil. The ability to predict increased levels of carbon sequestration from specific cultural practices will be a ‘good news’ story for Alberta’s agricultural industry and should be positively viewed on by society in general.
The farmers and ranchers involved with the project will understand what soil health means and the impact their management systems have on the health of their soils
Producers will have data that supports the effect of various short term management strategies on soil quality.
The project will identify short term management systems which have created the best improvements on soil health parameters and those which had no impact.
Knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) is a critical component of this project. Dr. Zavala will compile a user-friendly database of all
assessments and management information. She will prepare a comprehensive report for each participating farmer or rancher. It will be
mandatory for each association to interact with these landowners and Dr. Zavala will provide details in seminar or webinar format as well.
Annual written summaries will be prepared, published in local annual reports and newsletters as well as posted electronically and on various social media streams. General project updates and annual reports will also be shared with a provincial audience via searchable websites. Project updates will be presented at the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing in 2023 and 2025.