Why do the Loess Hills of Iowa need to be farmed in terraces?

Soil formed in loess, or wind-blown silt, is great for farming. Its soft texture contributes to its productivity, but also increases its susceptibility to erosion. To combat this issue, farmers implement many practices to ensure vulnerable soils are protected from wind, water, and gravity. Let’s dig into this substance called loess, and explore the Loess … Continue reading Why do the Loess Hills of Iowa need to be farmed in terraces?

How do soil microbes influence nutrient availability?

Soil is rich with biological diversity and complexity that is not immediately apparent to the un-aided eye. Without a strong microscope, you wouldn’t know that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of organisms in a handful of soil. Bacteria, archaea, algae, and fungi play critical roles in the growth and well-being of plants. … Continue reading How do soil microbes influence nutrient availability?