Dr. Michael Cope: Management Indices that Reflect Foundational Soil Health Practices

Soil health management systems are comprised of many specific management decisions such as crop rotation, tillage and cover cropping practices. Categorical (i.e. text- or label-based) characterizations of soil health management (e.g. “no-till” or “conservation till”) overgeneralize important details about soil health management and can be regionally specific. As a result, the categorical descriptions limit our ability to synthesize soil health data across different sectors of agricultural production.

The Soil Health Institute, through the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements (NAPESHM), is developing a numerical indexing system to represent core components of soil health management systems. The management indices, based on the principles of soil health, are being used to evaluate soil health measurements along continuous gradients of soil health management practices within and across different sectors of agricultural production.

For more information see our video below: