February 28, 2013

Forum crowd hears value of less soil disturbance

Forum crowd hears value of less soil disturbance

By ALLAN TINKER
One of the points of the Sheridan County 2103 Farm Forum speakers at the Feb 21 gathering in McClusky was the value of not disturbing the soil more than necessary. There were approximately 40 people in attendance.
Another point brought home was the ability of plants (weeds) to overcome the impact of chemicals designed to kill them.
The list was well balanced with local experts and official sources of the Ag industry. From insurance updates to FSA and NRCS information on current programs to animal health, there were valuable resources for any producer to reference.
Speaker Hal Weiser, NRCS Soil Health Specialist, with soil and water at hand, gave a water infiltration demonstration of various types of soils. He spoke on the values of neither disturbing the land more than necessary nor compacting it.
Soils that disintegrate with the application of water in some form, melting snow, rain or flood waters, collapse and do not keep the water dispersed within the area. This results in run-off and all the problems that may result.
Crust can also form on the top of many soils, alkaline in particular, resulting in surface run-off and salts where you don’t want them to be.
Soils that cannot hold water also contribute to saline seeps and other environments hostile to crop production and good soil health.
Another issue was the ability of plants to use the water that is there. Clay holds more water than sand but plant roots also have more problems getting it out.


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