The value and benefits of soil organic matter in agricultural production deserve regular mention. Organic matter contains nutrients essential to plant growth, many of which are released slowly and benefit crops throughout the growing season. It increases moisture holding ability and cation exchange capacity (nutrient holding ability) of soil, and favors desirable soil microbial activity. When good levels of organic matter are present, soil cover is more easily established and maintained, reducing likelihood of erosion .In the majority of pastures and hay fields, almost anything that increases organic matter is almost certain to be beneficial to future production. This includes application of plant residues or animal waste, use of cover crops and good grazing management. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quote and Concepts, vol. 2, here.