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No Till Farming Not So Great After All

It was just a couple of handfuls of soil and a few drops of water, but for the world of modern farming, it might as well have been a bomb dropping on the staid headquarters of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington. It actually happened, or at least first made the news, in Wilmington, Ohio, at the third annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium. In a news article about the meeting, in Farm and Dairy magazine, there’s a picture of a farmer and a scientist looking intently at a tabletop demonstration of soil porosity in samples of tilled soil and “no-till” soil. The result, and I quote: “The no-till samples provided more resistance to water infiltration while the tilled samples provided much less resistance and water moved more freely into the soil.” I grabbed the phone and called Chris Kick, the farm reporter and journalist who broke the story, to make sure this was not a mistake and that I was interpreting the results correctly. “I think you’re telling me that tilled soil actually saves more plant nutrients and results in less water runoff and erosion than no-till soil,” I said. He sort of laughed. “Well, this is going to be open to various interpretations, I’m sure, but yes, that’s what the experiment was demonstrating.” Is no-till farming really bad for the soil?! Say it ain’t so, Gene! Read the rest of his latest blog and find out the inconvenient truth…
holyshit Gene Logsdon is the author of, most recently, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind

A Small Thing But Maybe Not

All summer I raved and ranted at the squirrels that were eating the corn in my crib. I was particularly concerned because the drought seemed to be making sure this year’s crop was going to be a bust. I did not look forward to buying corn at drought-inflated prices just to keep squirrels fat eating […] Read More..

Fires In the Fields

If you want to see the landscape of hell painted prettily on a farmland horizon, watch a field of corn on fire. It is hellish enough, in my view, to see corn fields stretching away in every direction from sea to shining sea with no houses, barns, trees, fences, grazing animals or any other sign […] Read More..

Weeds That Like A Sip of Roundup Now and Then

First the glorious days of advanced farming brought us corn stalks that eat tractor tires. Now there’s a weed that likes to drink weed killers, especially Roundup. Recently Palmer amaranth “completely overran” most of the soybean test plots at Bayer CropScience’s test plots in Illinois, in the words of DTN/Progressive Farmer editor, Pam Smith, despite […] Read More..

The Weather May Not Be the Problem

There are so many stark contrasts in the world today. These are times out of which great epics of literature ought to be written but aren’t. Society is too engrossed in drivel like whether badminton players in the Olympics were cheating or not. This summer, the driest in 50 years in parts of the Midwest, […] Read More..

Tire-Eating Cornstalks

I fantasize about genetically-engineering deer that would love the taste of raccoons or that would eat car tires so society would do something about surging wildlife populations. But now a true occurrence is taking place in Foolish Farming Today that not even a genius like Mark Twain could reduce to a more absurd conclusion. Agribusiness […] Read More..