Monday, February 27, 2017

Tighty-Whities Test

Our current issue of the Nebraska Farmer came in the mail today. I was going through it with a cup of Tea this afternoon when the phone rang. It was our soil scientist son Jon who is with the USDA in Washington, DC. He has followed my career in the Soil Conservation Service though the Agencies name was changed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. I mentioned an article in the NF magazine : "Tighty-whities test reveals soil health". The results of the test is shown in the picture, and it is done in the following manner. Take men's cotton underwear and bury it in the soil, leaving the waistband exposed. In three weeks dig it up and see the effect. The amount of cotton underwear which remains (the less, the better), indicates the amount of soil microbiological activity and ultimately soil health. From left to right is a brief that wasn't buried; the next is a brief that was buried in a no-till, cover crop field; the third is a brief from a mulch-tilled soybean field; and the last is from a conventionally tilled cornfield. It is apparent that there is more biological activity in the no-till, cover crop field which is a measure of Soil Health. My guess is that son Jon will get some mileage out of this article, and the Nebraska Farmer should be duly recognized for publishing a very educational article. 

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