Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What Happens When It Rains 4 Inches in Three Days

We had 4 inches of rain in three days last week and had another 1/2 inch of rain this afternoon. I have had quite a few people ask me if we have had a lot of erosion, standing water or flooding. Well frankly we have had none of these issue and here is why:
With All Of This Persistent Rain, We Had To Explain... Photo Credit: RJ Petersen.

Our soil has great structure. When I explain we have had no run off or standing water with this level of rain, most of the farmers conclude I have sandy soil. Our soil type is a loam with 5-6 percent organic matter, which we have increased to 8-10 percent over the last 10 years. It is this organic matter and tilth (soil structure) that hold the soil in place and allows tremendous water retention and infiltration rates.

How do we get this level of organic matter and soil structure. In a word, COMPOST.

I'm not kidding when I tell people we have added 3.5 million pounds of compost to our farm.

We have very little compaction in our soils and the organic matter will hold 8X its weight in water, while allowing great air penetration into the top 8-10 inches of the soil. This is an ideal environment for soil macro and micro biology.

So 16 hours after completion of a 3 inch rainfall we were able to resume tillage with a walk behind tractor (a large 13 hp rototiller). There was no run off, there was no standing water and there was no cloddy soil. Just rich moist loamy soil, ready to go. We planted 500 transplants that next day.

Pretty cool, right.

No erosion, while the Zumbro River that runs through the back of our farm is running bank full with muddy water full of our neighbors soil headed for the Mississippi River delta.

No comments:

Post a Comment