Soil Health Assessment Videos Available Online

New video series provides information on in-field methods for assessing soil health

October 1, 2020, 11:27 am | Brian Dougherty

AMES, Iowa – A new series of videos on performing visual soil health assessments is now available on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources YouTube channel.

The videos explain the basics of how to perform visual assessments and demonstrate some simple, on-farm methods that can be used for assessing compaction, water infiltration, aggregation, temperature, biology and decomposition in soils.

“These videos are a good starting point for people who are interested in soil health but are unsure of what makes a soil healthy or unhealthy or how to assess that,” said Brian Dougherty, agricultural engineer with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “These on-farm methods give people a way to compare the effects of different management practices on the health or quality of their soil over time.”

Spade in soil.A total of nine videos are available, with information that can be used to assess soils across Iowa and the upper Midwest. Dougherty narrates each video and explains the basic tools needed for assessing soil, including a spade and a scorecard.

In addition to an immediate soil health assessment, he also explains how to track soil health from year to year.

The videos can be found on the Agriculture and Natural Resources YouTube channel under Soil Health. For more information, Dougherty can be reached at 563-239-7070, or

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