Get the Scoop with the WaSHI Blog

plastics in trash.

How is Soil-biodegradable mulch treating soil?

What happens to the plastics that we use? The most common answer: they get thrown away. But there is no AWAY!

A clod of compacted soil.

Soil Compaction: An inevitable part of modern agriculture or a symptom of poor soil health?

We can all point to the areas where the crops just don’t grow as well, where the tractor has to pull harder, or where water ponds and runs off. But how bad is the compaction problem?

two images, one of a goat and one of a cow in a field.

Building system resilience through diversification: livestock integration

Historically, it was commonplace for crops and livestock to share a home. Animals grazed uncropped or marginal lands, controlling weeds and turning the soil.

a person walking through a field.

WSDA creating resources for policymakers and farmers

The folks at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) have been busy providing guidance on soil health to federal policymakers and farmers, and technical assistance providers alike. Two main outputs have been created since the December newsletter:

Summary of SoilCon.

SoilCon: Increasing the Awareness of Soil Health Across Washington

SoilCon has been an incredible resource for those interested in improving soil health across the globe.

two people in a field with a tractor.

What does it take to start a long-term experiment?

“What were they thinking?” It’s a common question asked by agricultural scientists about the design of long-term cropping system experiments. Starting a long-term study is a big investment and having asked those questions ourselves while working with multi-decadal trials, you can imagine how daunting it was to be tasked with setting up a Long-term Agroecological Research and Extension (LTARE) site through the Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI).

a person in a field with a bucket and soil sample.

A new data scientist and data tool from WSDA

Ever wonder who manages the soil sampling data from the State of the Soils Assessment? Or who writes the code that produces our Soil Health Reports?

piles of biosolids in a field.

Bathroom reading: connecting biosolids to soil health

We tend not to want to think too hard about the contents of our toilets, much less where they go after we flush. While our waste may be out of sight and out of mind after this point for the average person, in reality, the problem of what to do with our waste isn’t as “flushable” on a larger scale.

a watercolor painting of microbes in the soil.

Monitoring the Mambo Between Soil Biology and Tillage

Here we explain why we are including soil biology in this study, how we are measuring microbial biomass, and what we expect to learn.

a tractor in a field.

Watching the Waltz: Weed Seeds and Tillage

Tillage is essential for termination of overwintering foliage (e.g., multifunction crops, weeds) and seedbed preparation, but can degrade biological and physical soil function, or health