Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dead Soil

I saw a story on MSN about America's Poorest Counties. I never realized so many are in South Dakota.

Thre redistribution of wealth in this country has been amazing. Education has always seemed to be a key to earning income. Farmers were always known as "asset rich but cash poor" but now have bid up to $20,000 per acre for farmland.

Why are those counties so poor? Is it education? Is it laziness, bad luck or what is it? Does our government system encourage and reward poverty now?

I saw in another article that the gasoline price in 1980 is the same as it is today taking inflation into account.

You may have seen that food safety was in the news again last week. A fungicide not approved in the U.S. is used in Brazil, now a major source for orange juice in America. The news blurb showed how COOL or country of origin labeling was kind of working but you need a magnifying glass to read the labels!

Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to South American food also and I looked on our little vine of tomatoes in the fresh fruit and vegetable bowl that sits on our kitchen counter and sure enough, those tomatoes read "product of Mexico." Many are sold by U.S. companies so you see the U.S. name larger and it may even say product of the U.S. produced in Mexico or wherever. That is pretty tricky but it is there.

Our garden is our main source for fresh vegetables most of the year. The freezer is now half gone but we still have pork from RemmPork in Nebraska and our fresh veggies and fruits. Last night we had filet mignon, Idaho bakers, green beans and I sauteed a beautiful onion from our friend Brian in Oregon. "It was to die for!" Thanks, Brian!

Have you ordered your garden seed yet? Need help on your soil test? Email or call and I will be glad to help. I read a lot of soil tests in St. Louis last week and over email so far this year.

I am trying to help one young man and his field calls for 100 lbs of AMS, 200 lbs MonoAmmonium Phosphate, 200 lbs Potash, 20 lbs of 10% Boron, 40 lbs of 10% Managanes Sulfate, 50 lbs of 10% zinc phosphate! He has soybean cyst nematodes on that farm and his special molybdenum test only showed .21 PPM. Moly on his inoculant alone could have made him an extra 5 bushels of soybeans per acre at a very low investment.

The biggest thing I noticed was his soil sample was dead. There is little living life in it. I should have really pushed him to sow a cover crop this fall with some of this fertilizer recommendation in it to get his soils perking before spring.

If he doesn't do something like this, his farm will continue to be one of the poorest in the county. Traditional NPK on barren soil isn't going to cut it!



  1. I was talking to a Mexican friend. He says there are thousands of acres of vegetables and berries being planted in Mexico. Mostly with Chinese money. I don't know what it means other than we are probably fighting the wrong wars. I mean that in a really broad way. As in our National Policy is probably idiotic.
    He thinks cheap and no very good produce is going to absolutely flood the market and he is planting a small acreage for quality local produce which he thinks will be in great demand.
    Very interesting conversation.
    Also, we have wet heavy clay soils which are in the process of going underwater for the second time in a year. We have a very difficult time keeping them alive.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head Budde. "We are fighting the wrong wars." Our market is already flooded at Kroger as we dare them to buy local so we can shop local. My solution to your problem is gypsum, plant a cover crop at every harvest or before and balance your nutrient load with a good soil test and back it up with a tissue test. I have barely scratched the surface doing this! Just talked to a friend and he says his new vetch with crimson clover, radish and annual ryegrass from Oregon "looks awesome" which lets me know I must experiment more with mixes.