Paul Jasa, Extension Engineer with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, develops and conducts educational programs related to crop production that improve profitability, build soil health, and reduce risks to the environment. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska and has worked with planting equipment and tillage system evaluation at the University since 1978. He works with soil and water conservation, residue management, crop rotations, cover crops and soil health.
Paul is a go-to resource on no-till planting equipment and system management to protect and build soil. He admits if there is a mistake to be made with no-till, he has either made it himself or has seen it done. He has learned from those mistakes and shares that information in presentations that stress the systems approach and the long-term benefits of continuous no-till.
“Soil health is important for healthy crops and reducing risks to the environment,” he said. “Healthy soil has good, aggregated soil structure that allows water and root penetration and air exchange. The biological life in the soil processes previous roots and residues, making nutrients available for the next crop. It also makes nutrients more available from the soil and any applied fertilizers. Beneficial soil life usually outnumbers destructive soil life, reducing the potential for crop damage from insects and diseases because of the natural cycling of predators and prey. A biologically active soil with living roots feeding the soil system is the key for soil health. A well-structured healthy soil, protected with residue or growing vegetation, is more resilient and more productive.
“We must make soil health a priority to have a resilient soil system and produce better crops in the future.”