Tuesday, January 24, 2012


There are SO many topics we could discuss today. We are discussing nutrients on Crop Talk, I brought in row width and plant feeding and inoculating and then my friend Andy in Indiana sent me this picture. Erosion!

"In nature, tillage is a catastrophic event." That is is the first quote I learned from Dr. Dwayne Beck I won't forget. It makes me think of the nature trail I took my students to behind Clermont Northeastern High School where we walked from a class II and III flat soil with poor internal drainage across, true class II-VI soils to Class XIII, more than 35% slope down to the creek.

Most called it a ravine or severe gully but it's a 100 foot drop off to the creek below. I had all eight land classes right in my backyard! I taught soils all the way to the creek and all the way back with lots of good woodland to talk about on the barked paths. There was plenty of weed identification, too!

Tillage is a catastrophic event for me and I gave it up in 1976 when we bought our first White 5100 6 row, 30 inch notill planter. I've spent a lifetime learning how to make that work.

Even with notill, we get erosion on one percent slopes here so cover crops became necessary to hold the soil in place when there isn't a cash crop holding it there. With 70 inches of rainfall in this region, there has been too much erosion even where we tried hard to prevent.

If we had a good spring, we could spend it moving soil back into place, reparing tile and installing new tile. With trying to plant a cover crop after each harvest, it's very difficult to get this done.

I see a lot of erosion on our farms I want to repair but it's small compared to many fields I see and I should feel pretty good with what I do have in place. I have lots of dead and living roots holding soil in place, ready for the next crop.

As long as there's man, there is going to be erosion. The glaciers that formed these beautiful midwest soils were massive movements so even if man is not here, erosion always is.

Our job is to figure out how to minimize it while making a living off the land. We have all the tools we need today. So I hope you find this blog your source for ag information today in answer to yesterday's question.

Have a great day,

Ed Winkle

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