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Old 09-14-2017, 04:00 PM   #1
A Bee's Best Friend
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default Soil Health - Agriculture

This article discusses how to go about bringing change to agriculture concerning soil health.

Can American soil be brought back to life?

A clump of soil from a heavily tilled and cropped field was dropped into a wire mesh basket at the top of a glass cylinder filled with water. At the same time, a clump of soil from a pasture that grew a variety of plants and grasses and hadn’t been disturbed for years was dropped into another wire mesh basket in an identical glass cylinder. The tilled soil–similar to the dry, brown soil on Cobb’s farm—dissolved in water like dust. The soil from the pasture stayed together in a clump, keeping its structure and soaking up the water like a sponge. Cobb realized he wasn't just seeing an agricultural scientist show off a chunk of soil: He was seeing a potential new philosophy of farming.
If they make progress, American farms will start to look more like DeSutter’s 4,000-acre farm in west central Indiana. Instead of neat rows stripped of extra foliage, his fields look messy, since each is planted with at least two crops. He rotates his fields among corn, soy, wheat and alfalfa, and between the rows he plants grasses like rye, and legumes like beans and lentils. He’s starting to bring cattle onto the land to improve soil health even further with manure, a natural fertilizer. When he started no-till farming and using cover crops in the early 1990s, his soil had about 1.8 percent organic matter. Now it’s at 4.5 percent and still ticking up.
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"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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agriculture, health, soil

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