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Soil Health

Defined as “continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans,” soil health is an important factor in ecosystem sustainability and agricultural production, and is being explored extensively by researchers at the University of Guelph.

Farming practices such as long-term monocultures, frequent tillage, and fertilizers can result in reduced soil health and ecosystem degradation. Researchers at the University are exploring ways to improve soil health for sustainably intensifying food production, which includes farming practices such as the installation of tile drainage systems, reduced tillage or no-tillage, and the use of cover crops.

Strawberries being irrigated with water

Researchers at the University of Guelph who focus on this area of research include:

U of G facilities focused on soil health include the Soil Health Interpretive Centre, the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and the Agriculture and Food Laboratory.

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Corn at Elora Research Station

Food from Thought is funding research related to sustainable crop production, soil health and assessing the relationships between farming and ecosystems. Learn more about our crops research.

The OMAFRA-U of G Agreement funds priority-driven research and knowledge mobilization to grow Ontario’s capacity to produce food, protect plant, animal and public health, and ensure a competitive and sustainable agri-food sector. Protecting and promoting soil health is a key focus of our funded research. Our research supports evidence-informed policies, programs, Best Management Practices, and innovative tools and technologies that help keep our soil healthy and productive. Learn more about our soil health research.