Soil Health in Wall Street Journal?

Surprisingly yes!

The following linked article from the Wall Street Journal quips “Three Cheers for Expensive Oil.”   An attention getter for sure. But the article is essentially about the effect of high fuel prices on farming practices that use a lot of it by cultivation, planting, spraying, and indirectly, fertilizer manufacturing.

I would not disagree that high fuel prices may be forcing some (or many) to adopt practices that build soil health such as conservation tillage or no-till and cover/companion crops, perennial crops. It’s interesting that sometimes we have to be “forced” into doing something that, ultimately, is what we should be doing anyway.

I think the real question is how will these producers react as they see their soils improving over the next few years? Will they go back to the old way when/if fuel prices go down? We can hope that they don’t, but they will obviously need to see a very real result, especially financially. Not to say that they are not concerned with the condition of their land, but they do need to make a living.

Article 1: Soil Health Wall Street Journal: “Three Cheers for Expensivie Oil.” 


The second article touches on the obstacles facing the adoption of no-till and makes some very good points.  But the over all sentiment form the author(s) is that with higher oil prices and more drought, the no-till practice may here for the long haul. Good news from the perspective of soil health.

Article 2: Plowing Through The Confusing Data On No-Till Farming – WSJ

About Chuck

Soil Scientist USDA/NRCS, Owner -
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