Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A farmer posted his corn root digs on Crop Talk. I thanked him for his pictures and commented how important they are for us to try and see what our crop went through and what we are doing to our precious soil.
The master was Francis Childs. I have never seen roots in a root dig pit like his. They were awesome and just amazing to look at.
Attending three field days with root digs last week made me want to go dig mine but I don't have a backhoe so I have to hire, beg, borrow or steal to get it done. The first choice is probably the best unless I had a neighbor as curious as me and then we could dig each other's.
Most farmers don't know what they are looking for or even looking at so an experienced eye is handy to have. Two sets of eyes and thinking is better than one unless neither one have experience. I do have some but I depend on others to help me and they live far away so putting together a good dig is not easy.
Some farmers would let us dig soil judging pits just so we could all learn together. Usually someone from conservation with lots of experience of digging on farms would help judge and teach the event. It's almost soil judging time in Ohio and we spent all day doing that near Coshocton last Thursday.
I am looking for soil structure but I can't see improvement unless I dig every year or every few years. I have here fixing tile and putting on field days so I do have a baseline of information.
I have spots of purple foxtail where the combine, cart and fetilizer spreader made tracks in soil that was probably too wet to be on and I would sure like to see the soil structure under them. Just two different hybrids side by side in a soil pit can be eye catching because each hybrid has it's own root structure.
At least I know I have limited my soil erosion with my practices and made a profit doing it but figuring out how to improve that would be really educational.