Thursday, August 18, 2011


40 agricultural consultants, soil lab and seed personnel got a real hand's on refresher course on soils today at the North Appalachian Hydrologic Station near Fresno, Ohio. It's just north of Coshocton, home of Roscoe Village and near Longaberger Baskets in Coshocton County, Ohio.

I learned that this station is one of two in the world and is on the chopping block in our broken economy. I am going to write my legislators and pledge my support to keeping this rare educational station.

The biggest changes in soil terminology is at least 4 categories of the soil profile instead of topsoil, subsoil and parent material. A layer has been added that describes material that is not the bedrock or parent material and not subsoil yet.

In the first soil pit of Coshocton Silt Loam on a B slope, the topsoil was 8 inches, the subsoil basically ended at 24 inches, and there were a few root hairs down to the new layer which was a BC layer today at 48 inches. No roots were observed below 48 inches and there was a color and texture change.

This education is important as more consultants recommend soil pits be dug on every farm or field to see how the farming practices are working in a given soil type. I highly recommend them and always learn something from them. I do enjoy speaking from a soil pit to interested farmers.

The best farm soil we found on the 1100 acre experiment farm was continuous notill. It had the best soil structure and porosity of any farming practice except for pasture land which was also very good. We can enhance that structure with cover crops and by "keeping the soil covered."

I saw a man with a name tag and and I said I worked for a man with that name 40 years ago and he looked at my name tag and just smiled. We had a good chat and hadn't seen each other since I worked for him.

Dr. Himes name came up many times as many of us had him for soils classes before he retired. Soil classification and properties were a key part of my agricultural education.

Most everything comes from the soil as we are not amphibians. Many think the study of soil is boring but without it, we wouldn't have the tremendous food production and construction we enjoy in this country and the world.

Ed Winkle

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