Maintaining soil quality and health in organic cropping systems is paramount. In fact, federal regulations state that organic growers must maintain and improve the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of soil, while minimizing the risk of erosion and avoiding contamination of soil, crops, and water (USDA-NOP, 2013). Organic growers have the option of using cover crops and rotations, as well as plant and animal residues to manage soil fertility. Sustainable soil management can also help reduce air and water pollution by improving the soil ecology and nutrient cycling.
Federal organic regulations for soil health can be found at: 205.203 Soil Fertility and Crop Nutrient management practice standard
Soil Fertility Library
- Crop & Soil Nitrogen Dynamics of Nine Rotation Systems During the Transition and Certified Organic Phases of Dryland Grain Production (pdf)