Monday, March 30, 2015

Symptoms of Soil Degradation

I went to the organic farming conference in LaCrosse, WI a few weeks ago. One of the speakers was talking about the symptoms of degraded soils.

It is worth measuring our soils against this list.

  1. Poor utilization of moisture.
  2. Low residual fertility
  3. Tight compacted soils
  4. High weed pressure
  5. Low Yields
  6. High imput costs
  7. Poor drainage
  8. Salinity
  9. Disease
  10. Pests
  11. Poor utilization of crop residues
  12. Erosion
  13. Poor water infiltration
If you see your soils on this list you need to search for answers. Note that these are symptoms and we often focus on remediating the symptoms. It is like a doctor treating a headache with an asprin, but not looking for the root cause of the pain.

Look deeper, solve the underlying problem and the symptoms will take care of them selves.

The organic farmer has many tools at his disposal that the conventional farmer will never consider. Each of these symptoms represents a challenge but they are all solvable and solving the root cause means healthy soils and more money in you pocket.

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