Soil Health Conference, Montrose CO, day 1

Great 1st day! It’s great to see local folks getting fired up about soil health in spite of the relative void of “experience”  and research in this area. The dependance on furrow irrigation is a specific obstacle that needs to be dealt with here and producers are highly unlikely to be able to change out their irrigation systems any time soon no matter how much they would like to. They have to find ways to make it (soil health principles) work with furrow irrigation. There is talk of developing a demonstration farm specifically for this area. Exciting! – We’ll see where it goes.

Here are some concepts that were articulated well by Ray Archuleta that I specifically liked:

– Conventionally farmed soils are addicted to fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides. To get them healthy again it takes a transistion period to help them heal from that addiction.

– Soils are “sub-aquatic”. Yeah, you read that right. The soil biology are essentially aquatic organisms. They live in the film of water around all the particles in the soil. They should also be considered our “underground livestock”, and we should care for them as such. As a soil scientist I know we have aquic and sub-aquic soil concepts but not in this sense. We’d better keep that straight in our heads. 😉

– Cover crop cocktails – can you say functional diversity? Diverse cover crop species are extremely beneficial because of their synergistic effects with and on each other.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I have time for some more input tomorrow. In the next couple days I’m looking forward to hearing from some local producers who have been impementing soil health building practices.

About Chuck

Soil Scientist USDA/NRCS, Owner - Soilhealth.net
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3 Responses to Soil Health Conference, Montrose CO, day 1

  1. Pingback: Your Questions About Growing Plants Without Soil Water | eConsumer Product Reviews

  2. Chuck says:

    Thanks for your input Dan.
    I’m pretty sure cover crops are meant to be grown before and/or after the cash crop if there is time for it to be established within the growing season. There might be some who can afford to set aside some ground to simply grow a cover crop for the year but I don’t think that’s the idea. Inter-cropping is another possibility but there is much research and experience yet to be gained in that practice too.

    I would certainly encourage folks to research your product and anybody with experience with it can add their input (with detailed method and results to avoid possible “bashing”). Anything that can accelerate soil recovery rates is a good thing.

  3. Dan Zaugg says:

    There was a lot of good information shared at the Soils Health Conference (in Montrose) on building up the soils but I couldn’t help but feel most growers could not get past the idea of setting their “cash crops” aside for 3-5 years in a row to sow in cover crops to help build organic matter and increase soil fertility. Although I appreciate the desire to reduce inputs ie ; fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, etc. they failed to mention ( for sake of not promoting a product line) that there is an input that has been formulated (in a controlled environment) to initiate the “pedo genisis” or Soil Building process. This is accomplished via HUMIC SUBSTANCES or humic acids and MYCORRHIZAE (beneficial fungi) that work together help increase the OM (Organic Matter) and CEC (Cationic Exchange Capacity or ability to allow the plant to absorb trace minerals) and the water holding ability of soils and allowing water to penetrate glazed and compacted soils by”flocculating” the clay particles to give that “Cottage Cheese” look. We also have a natural plant based Protein to feed the Micro-organisms in a granular form that can be spread on your land rather than grown.
    I do like the cover crop aspect of not having uncovered or open ground is a recommended a beneficial process,or worse yet setting it aside as fallow, its not always practical to take the time neccesary to build the soil and also having to set aside those Cash Crops. This is where WE CAN HELP!!!
    These benefits can be applied to existing or new crops, range lands, landscapes, orchards, golf courses and parks or athletic fields, virtually any place that can benefit from healthier soils can benefit from our product line. We can DO THIS with out having to take the field “OUT OF PRODUCTION” and begin to build the soils for DECADES TO COME. We’d love to share how our products can help you ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS and improve production and promote soil health at the same time . Check us out at http://www.SoilSecretsCOetc.com or email dan@modernlandscaping.net.

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