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What is soil organic matter?

Soil organic matter is the fraction of the soil composed of anything that once lived. It includes plant and animal remains in various states of decomposition, cells and tissues of soil organisms, and substances from plant roots and soil microbes. Well- decomposed organic matter forms humus, a dark brown, porous, spongy materia that has a pleasant, earthy smell. Mississippi soils generally are less than 2 percent organic matter. (from National Soil Survey Center et al.)

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The first photo shows ground that has been disked in the middle of dormant grasses. The second photo shows the same location with green plants growing beside grasses that are not as lush.
Filed Under: Soils, Wildlife October 19, 2018

Thinning timber, prescribed fire and planting wildlife food plots are the most common tools in wildlife management, but there is another, often overlooked practice: using light disking to disturb the soil.

Filed Under: Soils, Soil Health, Environment June 28, 2018

CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- Growers who planted cover crops for the first time last year will share their experiences with other producers at a cover crop field day.

Filed Under: Crops, Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Soils, Soil Health, Beekeeping, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens June 28, 2018

SAUCIER, Miss. -- Producers and gardeners looking for tips on growing herbs and improving their soil can attend a July 20 field day.

A marker stating “Common Vetch” stands in a section of tall green grass.
Filed Under: Crops, Soils, Weed Control for Crops January 22, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Producers who plant winter crops with no intention of harvesting them reap the benefits of soil conservation, weed control and nutrient retention.

On the flip side, however, the practice of almost constant production in a field creates issues with pest management. Farmers who “plant green” have to balance these challenges to best prepare the way for good crops each year.

Filed Under: Soils, Soil Testing May 25, 2017

New manager of operations Keri Jones recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory, and she's ready to enhance the unit's efficiency."

"My primary goal is to provide accurate soil analysis in a timely manner," said Jones, an Extension associate who has worked in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences since 2016. "I hope to improve the overall efficiency of the lab as well as update soil nutrient application recommendations."

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