Adoption of Beneficial Management Practices to Improve Soil Health
adoption, BMP, soil health, indicator
Healthy soils are fundamental to building prosperous and resilient farms and to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance overall environmental impacts from agriculture. Understanding the adoption of beneficial management practices (BMPs) that promote soil health is necessary for these benefits to be obtained. Drawing from a survey of Ontario farmers (n = 247) with 60% being crop producers and 22% livestock farmers, we explore the variation in adoption for six soil health BMPs: cover crops, crop rotations, no-till, soil testing, conservation buffers, and organic amendments. Soil testing had the highest rate of adoption, while conservation buffers had the least. The majority of farmers (73%) implemented four or more BMPs as the use of practices such as a rotation with winter wheat, cover cropping, and no-till tend to be positively correlated. Adopters of the BMPs tend to operate larger farms both in the area operated and farm cash receipts than non-adopters. Improving soil health was the most widely selected motivation for adoption across all six BMPs. The most effective interventions to enhance adoption among non-adopters include financial incentives, easily accessible information and advice, and farmer-to-farmer learning. Our results suggest that farmers that adopt BMPs do so primarily to enhance soil health rather than solely for economic considerations. Encouraging use among non-adopters may require monitoring and promoting the benefits of soil health. The results should aid in the development of strategic frameworks that facilitate innovations in policy to enhance soil health.
Source Publication Title
Canadian Journal of Soil Science
Canadian Science Publishing
Shah, A., Weersink, A., & Vyn, R. J. (2022). Adoption of Beneficial Management Practices to Improve Soil Health. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 102 (4), 852. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjss-2021-0187