Post by Mary Lecerne PhD. on Aug 21, 2015 7:30:38 GMT
I'm usually not quick to share government publications, but NRCS does a better job of public service (IMO) than many.
This one sums up what you were sharing earlier,
"Contrary to conventional thought, plowing or tillage actually reduces the capacity of the soil to receive and hold water over time, according to Moebius-Clune. “That’s because tillage destroys soil aggregates and the biologically produced glues that hold soil aggregates together,” she said. “This results in the collapse of those aggregates and the pores between them, which leads to compaction, crusting, increased run-off and downstream flooding, all of which decreases the amount of water that enters the soil profile to be stored and used by crops.” - See more at: blogs.usda.gov/2015/05/12/a-hedge-against-drought-why-healthy-soil-is-water-in-the-bank/#sthash.T2gIULGL.dpuf"
Post by Jim Martindale on Aug 21, 2015 7:31:31 GMT
Couldn't have said it better. Unfortunately there is the usual apparent inability like most of NRCS in receiving that "not all forms of tillage" are destructive to the end result described here. Tillage has been defined by our physical senses. Using these senses are a great way to miss deeper understanding and wisdom that comes from God. If what I have been enamored with for over 30 years can be described as tillage (short of meeting the requirements of being destructive to aggregation, I think it is a form of tillage), the farm in upstate NY that I have referred to as the Mason Farm has historically since the mid 80's done MORE "tillage" by several times over than any farm I have ever known. The aggregation now observed has been existent for over 25 years. No cover crops ever employed. Alfalfa and corn for silage as the rotation and surface applied manures from the dairy. Lots of tillage up to three or four reps yearly in the early years. All has apparently led to creating a highly fungal system with an average corn silage yield that is almost twice the county average that without rainfall for 92 days in 1999 following a June 10th rainfall suffered a mere 17% reduction in yield. The neighbor suffered a 9 ton yield compared to the Mason's 19.5. In contrast 2014 was an excellent growing season and the corn crop finished 3rd in the US competition conducted by Golden Harvest Seed company. This yield was 30 tons per acre and 25% above the rolling farm average. This is represents responsiveness in addition to resilience which is why the farm average is off the charts for the county which today includes very little Class IV soils which Masons farm. To add the ridiculous to the sublime; In 2014 everything was in readiness to plant the corn except for the seed safe starter which had been used since 1984 in growing corn. The record 3rd place corn was grown without the added fertilizer. These folks have used glyphosate chemical and other weed control chemicals historically and still do. NEVER grown a cover crop. NEVER used any biological soil amendments. Probably when taken in total, they have done more things wrong than they've done right according to prevailing knowledge and yet they have achieved soil performance beyond believable. I just love their story.
Post by Mary Lecerne PhD. on Aug 21, 2015 7:33:23 GMT
Hi Jim, I apologize that I did not acknowledge the differences in tillage approach above. When I was working with rangelands, we were able to show benefits to discontinuous disturbances to the soil, such as those made by grazing and burrowing animals. While motor vehicles damaged the land with continuous traces that contributed to soil erosion, prairie dog holes, hoof prints, and other such, more discontinuous patterns, broke the soil crust enough to allow improved air and moisture penetration. Soils were actually better where reasonable numbers of animals were maintained. I thought of this as I watched your cursebuster video. I am intrigued by your story of the Mason Farm. Is this one of the soil samples you discussed sending? How many of your Cursebusters are in use? Have you ever marketed them in the Southwest? What similar kinds of equipment are on the market? I've seen good reports from "keyhole" plowing, but that still lives a continuous (albeit small) trace through the soil. Our region here in southern NM is easily overlooked nationwide as an ag production area, but because it is all irrigated, and we can grow almost year round, we do have a pretty strong, high dollar specialty crop production area. Our chile is considered by many the best in the world. We also grow onions, lettuce, melons, pumpkins, and more. Alfalfa, winter grains, and corn are common rotations. On the east side of the state, peanuts are pretty big. Many growers are moving to underground drip systems, raising the question of how deep your cursebuster goes.
Post by Jim Martindale on Aug 21, 2015 7:36:29 GMT
Certainly no apologies expected or desired. I really appreciate your interest and great questions and contributions.
In the earliest forms of this tillage technology it actually resembles the action of burrowing animals. Perhaps imagine what the videos would look like it the rotary harrows on the rear were not there. We’ve added them to the mix because of other valuable contributions they make to controlling small weeds/leveling fields/making a seedbed for mechanical planting machines/distributing crop residues and animal wastes to name some.
I am intrigued by your story of the Mason Farm. Is this one of the soil samples you discussed sending? Yes. It has been continuously tilled with the vertical tine technology without use of the rear attached harrows since 1984. There was a brief hiatus when a tandem disc was used following liquid application to incorporate surface applied liquid dairy waste after the field had been tilled vertically. This ended abruptly in 2013 when the corn crop suffered greatly in the dry weather of the 2012 summer.
How many of your CurseBuster are in use? We have 30 in the field running in the US and Canada today. As of this fall almost 1/3 of them are in Canada. We have done no farmshows there and just one field day on the farm of the first owner less than a year ago.
Have you ever marketed them in the Southwest? we have not made, a concerted effort in the SW. We have always waited patiently for the interest to develop in every area we now service.
What similar kinds of equipment are on the market? The Smart-Till machine is using the tine to which I hold the patent granted in 2005. It is a good single rank machine which also uses the harrows on the rear to perform secondary tillage. The machine sold under the name Gen-Till also uses my patented tine without authority. Others on the market include one made by Great Plains-Landpride division-. Brown and Aerway. These machines all use the tine made, by Aerway which has three altered features from the NZ original (which I adhere to very strictly) and these actually transmit force into the soil and leave compacted zones all around the tine location. Water and air exchange is unaffected as a result and the net result is actually a net increase in soil bulk density. The resulting action is identical to the action of a sheepsfoot packer which is a very important machine used in building roadbeds which need to be impervious to water. This is the opinion of two different independent civil engineers who built roads and highways for a combined 70 years.
The Keyline Plow is a typical approach being used to break deep compaction and silt layers in parent materials underlaying a typical A horizon. I used to think that they were an essential part of restoring soil structure. DONE IN COMBINATION WITH ROOTING ACTIVITY they can be. I had spend time on a farm in north central IN one year to discover the fallacy in my assumption. This farm which I had visited 13 years before had a serious sun-surface layer that was several inches thick that started at about 10 inches under the field surface. I discovered the layer was completely gone and it had never been directly impacted by steel. The operator had used a single rank version of the original NZ geometry tine continuously over that time period and the root systems of his corn/soybeans and cereal rye and annual ryegrass had effectively destroyed the layer completely. In fact the soil on the edge of the field where the manure tanker was loaded from the roadside revealed no increase in bulk density in the tanker/applicator wheel tracks compared to the rest of the field. We were all wowed that day!!!
Many growers are moving to underground drip systems, raising the question of how deep your CurseBuster goes. We are very familiar with this move toward sub-irrigation and sub-drip lines and anxious to place a CurseBuster in this application. We think it will be very dynamic synergy. The silt movement which is aggravated/and caused by water movement downward through soil (the anatomy of the curse pronounced by God from Heaven to Noah and his sons in Gen. 8:21) is stopped except for normal precipitation. Great relief in and of itself to stop overhead irrigation. Better yet is the fact that the tine action actually promotes upward migration of capillary water; exactly water sub-irrigation systems are about. The Eagle tine is 8.75 inches in length and for most installations does not represent a threat to the line integrity. Thanks again and God Bless.