Adapting to a changing climate will be one of the key factors to the future success of agriculture. Water conservation in farm settings should start with building the capacity of the land to capture and retain precipitation. Improving tilth and adding organic matter to soils are effective tools for water management. Enhancing water capture and storage in the soil can be a cost-effective solution to minimizing drought impacts in dryland farming.

This video presentation was the final of three that I made to the 2020 Water Management Strategies for Dryland Agriculture Webinar Series. The webinar series was sponsored by the BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative. It was delivered as part of their regional adaptation program.

Health Soils Trap and Retain Water

This lecture, in four parts, provides an introduction to soil tilth. It also highlights the importance of organic matter in building and maintaining health soils for agriculture. In the videos I provide an overview of tilth and soil concepts. And I describe some key influences organic matter has on slowing the water cycle. Together, tilth and organics are an option for water conservation. Please have a look at my introductory presentation on agriculture and water cycle, for more background on these concepts.

The video series concludes with some practical management guidance on options for adding and retaining soil organic matter. And it includes discussion on tillage, grazing, agroforestry and composting.

Tilth and Organics Video, Part 1

Introduces soil tilth, soil tilth indicators, and the importance of organic matter in building and maintaining tilth.

Tilth and Organics Video, Part 2

The role of healthy soils and soil organic matter in farm water conservation is discussed.

Tilth and Organics Video, Part 3

Options for direct additions of organic matter are described, with a discussion on the pros and cons of various organic matter sources.

Tilth and Organics Video, Part 4

Indirect additions of soil organics through management (grazing, agroforestry, mulching) are described. Methods for retaining soil organic matter and maintaining good tilth are highlighted.