Saturday, February 1, 2014

Soil Stories

It's funny, I am more concerned about keeping, saving and improving my soil this year than I am about profit.  The profit comes from good soil practices.  I am not obsessed about money, but it does pay the bills.  I am obsessed about soil.  If I study my soil and take good care of it, it takes good care of me.

This lady goes on a journey to learn about the fragile layer beneath our feet.  It's an interesting story, a true soil story.  Her journey takes her past a soil scientist and his team who classifies soil types.  Did you know there are over 19,000 soil types mapped in the United States thus far?  Each one is so similar yet so distinct.

Farmers tend to call them good, average or poor, or maybe flat and black or rolling or hilly.  Most ag teachers do a great job of teaching the basics of soils.  We had some great soil instructors in my day and we passed it down to our children and their peers.  The FFA Soils competitions are some of the most important concepts taught.  It's one of the reasons I feel every school should have FFA.  Soil is that important and a necessary life skill.

Like this video, this instruction is very basic but most people don't have or understand this basic information.  It helps me as a farmer and gardener to improve my soil and get more out of it.  With this knowledge, soil test results and recommendations and tissue test results, it's pretty easy to provide the necessary nutrients for plants.  It seems like half the questions and posts I read show one or more of these are lacking in the poster's comments.

Take some time and view the video and look up some questions you have and don't know the answer to.  Let's discuss them here so we can pass our "soil stories" down to the next generation.

I have a question.  What can you do differently to improve your soil this year?

Ed Winkle


  1. No-till,More diverse crop rotation,cover crops.Here is a soil management calculator I found lately.
    Kinda interesting how much residue is left on soybean stubble with one NH3 application with covering
    disc's and one planter trip with double disc was already and 20% residue left.

  2. I agree. I can warn you though, it's taken me ten years to get much improvement on this farm. I was able to do it profitably and sustainably, though, so it sure was worth the effort!