Thanks for writing. It was interesting to see the Einbock cultivator at work in a successful fashion. Finally there are conventional farmers and those in various forms of no-Till expanding their thinking to include raising more nutrient dense crops and recognizing that the commercialization of a new pesticide was not going to be their silver bullet.
I agree that getting O2 into the soil is the first step, be it tillage as a quick step or fostering a large nitecrawler population. Dragging plant material around defeats the purpose. Bob
This is the email that i had sent to Bob and others concerning the video that is posted on You-Tube using the Einbock for thatching a pasture.
This is certainly a different approach to building soil and productivity of pasture or anything else than what I espouse. I found the comment about dragging old hay and plant residues into a depression in the field quite amusing. The statement was made that most of the material disappeared in an amazingly short period of time after that. Why was it so? Why wouldn’t it have disappeared over the entire pasture the same way?
What was unique and so effective in the depression that made the residue disappear so fast assuming it wasn’t washed away or blown away? Maybe that was the case. We don’t really know. That is a real possibility however in early spring when heavy rain could have done the deed. Hopefully this was not the case and if it was not then where did it go?
My contention is that insects ate the stuff. Further that these same insects if their numbers were adequate would have eaten it over the whole field. The problem may lie in the numbers that are existent over the field. Why would their numbers not be adequate all over the entire field? The young of these foraging insects are birthed in shallow burrows near the field surface. If the soil fails to transport water and exchange air then these little critters die in wholesale numbers in a flooded nursery.
This is my case for why running a truly effective plow-layer deep tillage tine such as the CurseBuster or Smart-Till is the most effective way to restore these essential critters in abundant numbers to our farmscapes. I prefer a Phillips rotary harrow to thatch and scatter cow pies to dragging stuff off the field or into clumps. Must be a lot of fun following the Einbock if you decide to mow this hay crop for stored feed instead of grazing it.
This is my response to Bob concerning his hopes for earthworms being able create the O2 infiltration of soils......
I was always hopeful that the earthworms would be equal to the challenge of managing air and water exchange. My hopes have been dashed. What one finds even after waiting for decades for earthworm burrows under no-till conditions to accomplish the task is just more soil erosion and more pathogenic fungi. Oh and more grey haired earthworms. If the count ever increases much it is only the oldsters who are surviving longer and making the big impression on biased observers. The youngsters are killed in massive numbers every fall and or winter if rainfall is adequate to waterlog three inches of soil. The waterlogging that is the death nell to youngster earthworms is right where the waterlogging takes place.... in the TOP 3 inches of the soil where the bulk of the eggs are laid.
Unfortunately a myriad of other species of foraging insects try to winter over and laid the eggs of their young in the same place. These include some natural predators of critters like the western rootworm/cutworm/common stalk borer and more.
If one wants to really see the numbers increase it is necessary to leave the eggs and youngsters undisturbed and do something to make sure the nursery is not going to get flooded.....ever if possible.... but certainly not before they are able to make their escape from the flood that always comes in the no-till environment.
This whole idea of building earthworm populations with no-till is so far out in left field it begs description. I have seen more total and more diversified age ranges in a moldboard plowed/conventionally tilled soil with a good rotation which includes the production of forages than I have behind long-term no-till. How about it some of you guys who grew up on a small dairy farm? Remember walking behind the plow picking of worms to go fishing that night after supper? Didn't take long did it?