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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Systems Approach: the Key to Sustainability

Author
item Karlen, Douglas

Submitted to: Soil Health Basis for Current and Future Production
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 7, 1994
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: This report examines controllable and uncontrollable factors that can affect soil health and thus influence long-term sustainability. Inherent fertility and hydrology are viewed as uncontrollable factors that are determined by the soil resource and climate. Management decisions, such as separating crop and animal production enterprises, using crop rotations, planting cover crops, implementing various tillage practices, installing drainage or irrigation, applying soil and plant analyses, and establishing realistic crop yield goals are viewed as controllable factors. A systems approach is one of the most effective ways to consider all of these factors and their potential interactions when developing nutrient management plans that will sustain or enhance soil health. A systems approach strives to integrate concerns of farmers, farm suppliers, environmentalists, and consumers. The use of a systems approach enables landowners and operators to evaluate potential outcomes for a wide variety of practices before they select those best suited to their resources.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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