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Featured Resource: Building healthy pasture soils

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

As winter approaches, managing pasture soils to optimize forage and feed for livestock, while minimizing soil disturbance and compaction for healthy soil is critically important. To complement the recent 4 The Soil: A Conversation podcast episode with Lee Rinehart of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), we are highlighting his publication Building Healthy Pasture Soils as a seasonal featured resource. In this free online publication, Lee reviews grazing management principles and practices that promote healthy soil. In the introduction, Lee describes that a healthy pasture soil ecosystem will benefit the pastures, livestock, and the people who manage and care for the soil. He encourages graziers and livestock managers to be observant and aware of the early signs and trends toward ill health, which include bare ground, runoff, and compaction from excessive traction and pugging of the soil to limit recovery.


In addition to being a good resource on healthy pasture soil properties, the NCAT website for the publication includes an audio version, USDA-NRCS Soil Health Assessment Fact Sheets, a number of videos, and talks on soil health by Gabe Brown, Dr. Christine Jones, and other noted graziers.


Rinehart, L. (2017). Building Healthy Soil Pastures. A free online and downloadable version of the National Center for Appropriate Technology Sustainable Agriculture publication is accessible at https://attra.ncat.org/publication/building-healthy-pasture-soils/


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