Soil management, or soil conservation, deals with some aspect of protecting soil resources and using soils in a sustainable manner. Effective soil conservation in agriculture hinges on five basic principles:
1. Keeping soil in place by reducing tillage practices
2. Maintaining or improving soil quality parameters, such as organic matter, bulk density, earthworms, desirable soil structure, etc.
3. Managing and protecting water supplies
4. Planning a crop rotation system made up of crops that are profitable and protect soil quality
5. Applying only the amount of inputs needed to achieve reasonable crop production targets
This publication focuses on the first three principles. Additional information on items #4 and #5 are found in the Soil Fertility Guide, Field Crop Production Guide and Guide to Crop Protection published by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives and in other agronomy-related publications. To fully appreciate and understand the principles of soil management, one must understand the soil itself. The first part of the guide deals with how soils are formed and classified. The latter section uses these principles to identify certain soils (under certain conditions) that would benefit the most from a particular soil conservation practice.