West-Central Forage Association

MASH: Soil Health Mini Conference

March 24, 2023

MASH: Soil Health Mini Conference

Gateway Research Organization, Grey Wooded Forage Association and West Central Forage Association have partnered up to bring you a balanced mix of soil science and on-farm observations at the MASH conference on March 24, 2023.

for Soil Health

At a time when chemical inputs are not only costly, but use is pressured by environmental and market concerns, it is more important than ever to understand and improve basic soil health. Good general soil health can have positive implications on chemical inputs.

The 2023 event will be held on March 24. This year’s event features not only the science behind soil health but also practical strategies farmers are using to improve their soils. Dr. James White, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, will discuss how plants use bacteria to draw nutrients from the soil.

Dr. Mir Seyedbagderi will address how the mineral balance in your soil can affect nutrient uptake and what influence humic application may have. Both scientists are well known for their expertise in identifying and managing soil constraints.

The remainder of the conference will focus on producer strategies for improving soil. Rick Bieber joins us from a mixed grain and cow/calf operation in Trail, South Dakota. He practices no-till on his 5000 acres of cropland while another 5000 acres of rangeland supports 400 head of cows. He is a strong advocate for diverse crop rotations and integrating resources between the crops and the cows to maximize returns per acre. He has shared his experience with producers at conferences through the Northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest of the United States over the past 20 years.

Soil health is a focus for producer Shorty Fenske’s mixed farm operation in west central Alberta. He will share his knowledge of drawing and utilizing valuable nutrients from compost material using his bioreactor which was modeled after the Johnson-Su developed in California and adapted for Alberta’s conditions. Shorty is a practical farmer who is passionate about soil health. An optional session will allow producers to discuss mineral ratios within their specific soil one-on-one with our Dr. Zavala and Dr. Mir. Dr. Zavala prefers producers have a benchmark report from the CARA Soil Health Lab for this discussion, but a chemical analysis including micro-nutrients can also be used. The intention of the optional session is to get producers engaged in understanding, improving and monitoring their soils.


Plan to join fellow producers who wish to understand alternative management practices
for improving soil, lowering input costs and improving the quality of what they produce.

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