Soil health can be defined as the capacity of a specific soil to function in a natural or managed system to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain environmental quality, and promote plant and animal health (SSSA, 2013). Soil organic matter (SOM) is a key component in soil health as it affects soil chemical, physical, and biological properties. It is commonly accepted that SOM enhances fertility, improves physical properties (such as, infiltration and water retention), and enhances overall soil health. Although improvements in crop varieties/hybrids and innovation in fertilizers continue to boost average yields, proper soil health is important for sustaining productivity. Crop and soil management are key to increasing SOM and improving soil health.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison