Twisted Tree Photography

Twisted Tree Tree Photography at Hawclif Farms

Today I learned that it is World Soil Day. Seems as though there’s a world or national day of something just about every day but this was one I could certainly get on board with! (As well as National Cookie Day, Pizza Day, Taco Day, Ice Cream Day, Coffee Day… you get me.)

This is a day to advocate for sustainable management of soil resources. Soil health and sustainability are certainly two common terms in the agriculture world that kind of go hand in hand. After all soil health is like a backbone for farming!

I actually learned about this day by following The Glass Barn Education Center at the Indiana State Fairgrounds where they posted a little soil health experiment from The Farmwife Crafts. The experiment shows the differences in soil runoff with or without grass waterways or filter strips.

We have a lot of these waterways in our fields on hillsides and where the ground slopes. The grass waterways help to slow down any runoff, filter sediment, and slow down possible soil erosion issues.

Here’s an aerial view of what these waterways can look like in the spring before planting and in the summer after planting.

With all the rain we had in the spring and summer of 2019 these grass filter strips/waterways were more important than ever. And even with utilizing our best practices farmers all across the area had more issues with washouts and little gullies being formed even along these waterways than ever before. 2019 has certainly been like no other. We received so much rain over such long periods of time it was just more than some of our waterways could handle.

These gullies make the ground REALLY rough to drive (okay BOUNCE) across! Which is hard not only on the driver but the equipment as well! There may have been a head knocked on the roof of a tractor cab a time or two this fall! OUCH! Again just another example of the many reasons we strive to prevent any soil erosion issues on our farms.

There are many other practices we farmers use to maintain good, sustainable soil health and prevent erosion such as the use of cover crops and no-till farming practices. Trust me we don’t want that topsoil going anywhere!

Another little-known champion we like to see in our fields to help maintain good soils and prevent soil compaction…worms! We went digging and found some today!

And we’ve now had more than 1 consecutive December day of sunshine so in celebration of the sunshine, warmer temps (if 42 degrees can be considered warm), and World Soil Day we went walking some fields to check out our oats and radish cover crop we planted.

These were planted in river bottom farm grounds that we were unfortunately not able to plant our normal corn or soybean crop on. (Really hope that doesn’t happen again!) Here are a couple of pictures of what those radishes look like at this stage where they are beginning to die off (and stink!). But even as they break down they are working for us and doing their job to help prevent soil erosion and maintain good soil health! And just like the worms, they do a great job of helping to break up soil compaction. Not the typical little red radishes you’re used to seeing in your garden salad!

We also went to another area of fields that we farm and discovered some beavers have been very hard at work along the creek where we were checking to see the flow out of tile outlets. (Another great farming practice to help keep the topsoil right where we want the field!) Holy beavers Batman! Timber!

If you are really interested in reading and learning more about soil health, erosion, etc. there is a great book about the history of soil erosion from past civilizations to modern sustainable practices written by David R. Montgomery.

Since this is also a photography site I’ll leave you with a little something prettier to look at. And I certainly hope you went outside at some point in your busy day to enjoy that sunshine on this World Soil Day!

And I felt like I found Groot! Where are my Marvel fans?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *