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Thread: True or False?

  1. #1
    Willscale
    Guest

    True or False?

    If we focus on the health of the soil resource long term it will return more to our bottom line than anything else

  2. #2
    Mr Bean
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    If we focus on the health of the soil resource long term it will return more to our bottom line than anything else
    Looks like quite a bold statement to me, but none the less true IMHO.

  3. #3
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Maybe in a 100 yrs but how are you going to live between now and then.
    But do you think profit and improving soils are consistently mutually exclusive? I don't think I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bean View Post
    Looks like quite a bold statement to me, but none the less true IMHO.
    Not my words but I wondered what people think. It would be overstating it to say if your soil is right then everything else is right but I can see the logic I really can - we all know a good soil is much easier to farm than a difficult one. I have to say (touch wood) that I find that my fields that have been longer term DD seem to be a easier to farm and their fertility status is good, there structure is good, worm status is ok (need more).

    I'm not trying to make a semi-religious no tillage kind of statement but it does feel once you get the key things in place (right drill, right experience, right rotation (crops and chemicals) things start to get a bit easier and cheaper.

  4. #4
    shakerator
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    But do you think profit and improving soils are consistently mutually exclusive? I don't think I do.



    Not my words but I wondered what people think. It would be overstating it to say if your soil is right then everything else is right but I can see the logic I really can - we all know a good soil is much easier to farm than a difficult one. I have to say (touch wood) that I find that my fields that have been longer term DD seem to be a easier to farm and their fertility status is good, there structure is good, worm status is ok (need more).

    I'm not trying to make a semi-religious no tillage kind of statement but it does feel once you get the key things in place (right drill, right experience, right rotation (crops and chemicals) things start to get a bit easier and cheaper.

    As mentioned before on another post, we get paid on weight, less so on quality. Treating the soil like a hydroponic substrate (i.e. soluble nutrient feeding instead of slow release natural soil processes) will always produce the biggest yields with "green revolution" crops that are bred to achieve that yield from N and herbicide. Is there a happy medium in no-till? i dont know.
    In a world of lower priced commodites, i'm more inclined to agree.

  5. #5
    doorknob
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Maybe in a 100 yrs but how are you going to live between now and then.


  6. #6
    doorknob
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    If we focus on the health of the soil resource long term it will return more to our bottom line than anything else
    True !!!!......if I use my definition of what a healthy soil is. But who's definition of healthy soil are you using?

  7. #7
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
    True !!!!......if I use my definition of what a healthy soil is. But who's definition of healthy soil are you using?
    Why whats your definition?

  8. #8
    martian
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    If we focus on the health of the soil resource long term it will return more to our bottom line than anything else
    True. Think of soil as our capital, eating it away will hit our bottom line sooner than Lee's hundred years.

    We've got fields that we are cropping that have been relatively recently permanent pasture and they are a dream to work compared to their neighbours that we've ploughed etc since the last war, losing most of their humus and so need more careful management. I am hoping no tilling will even this difference.

  9. #9
    peasantman
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    True.

    You don't have to wait 100 years either. We must have halved our diesel and wearing parts bill in the first year. And fertiliser does not leach away so quickly now that humus levels are building. Moisture conservation is another benefit which probably gave us another half ton to the acre last year. Better consolidation means less frost heave, less rolling and fewer manganese problems.

    Early days, but for us it has worked well so far with immediate benefits. Entry after 4 year ley has worked best but even wheat / rape / wheat is better.

    Some worries over slugs, gradual over compaction and herbicide residues, but not seen a problem yet.

  10. #10
    Gothmog
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Maybe in a 100 yrs but how are you going to live between now and then.
    Wont take 100 years.
    Just 10 years of chopping all straw back in changed my soil big time.
    Organic matter is the key.

  11. #11
    doorknob
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Why whats your definition?
    My definition of healthy soil is one that has adapted to the removal and disruption of its natural flora and been put into monoculture crop production.

    Healthy soil for my farm is one that has stopped the decline, or has stabilized, in soil OM content. One that has a biota that has adapted to it's current usage and limitations.

    Healthy soils "here", have stabilized at their current levels of fertility given the lack of rotation, animal traffic and grazing, and usage of artificial fertilizers and synthetic chemicals.

    Like it or not, politics play a role in soil health, and will continue to do so. We have no access to manures and litters. We have no livestock and can not start anew with livestock. (other than perhaps fish) Without livestock, our rotations have dwindled to seeds

    and grains, with no forage crops. Politics, again, has made it illegal for me to grow canola and similar brassicas.

    Soybeans and grain corn are trying to get a hold here, but the market infastructure is non-existant and is very slow in building.

    So,....my definition of a healthy soil is one that has stabilized under it's current limitations. It's biota has adapted and the soils fertility has stopped it's decline from what it may have been in it's natural state.

    It will not fit the text book definition.

  12. #12
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Would you say then that a person who is grossly overweight is "healthy" because they had stopped getting bigger and thus stablised under their current limitations?

  13. #13
    pig fighter
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Maybe a "healthy" soil is one that, like a super fit adventure athlete, it can stand the racket of everything being thrown at it. So a healthy soil will grow big crops without worrying wether you are damaging it through cultivation, it will take on the chin any rotation of crops and will act as a "bank account" that you can deposit high levels of soluble inputs into and gain a return on your investment.
    Healthy isn't necessarily just having your five a day and doing a 1 mile walk.

  14. #14
    RBM
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by pig fighter View Post
    Maybe a "healthy" soil is one that, like a super fit adventure athlete, it can stand the racket of everything being thrown at it. So a healthy soil will grow big crops without worrying wether you are damaging it through cultivation, it will take on the chin any rotation of crops and will act as a "bank account" that you can deposit high levels of soluble inputs into and gain a return on your investment.
    Healthy isn't necessarily just having your five a day and doing a 1 mile walk.
    At last, a sensible well thought comment!!

  15. #15
    Bog Man
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gothmog View Post
    Wont take 100 years.
    Just 10 years of chopping all straw back in changed my soil big time.
    Organic matter is the key.
    That is my situation but keeping the straw near the surface.
    Its a bit like a low rate of compound interest over a long period of time .

  16. #16
    Mayo
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    A soil that is in good nick can be had in far less than 100 years. Hell, anyone who changed from ploughing to min-till must have noticed some improvement within 5 years surely?

    All the time the soil is becoming easier to work, more resistant to compaction and capping or pans, retaining more moisture and nutrients, and who knows what else in terms of disease resistance?

  17. #17
    doorknob
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Would you say then that a person who is grossly overweight is "healthy" because they had stopped getting bigger and thus stablised under their current limitations?
    Can the fat person diet? Is it the fat person's choice to be fat, or is it a genetic issue that can not be undone?

    There's a difference when you have a choice.

    A man gets drafted into a war he did not start. You know what war is over there, dont you? (that's sarcasm) The man does his best to fight the enemy and stay alive to go home someday. But,......he ends up loosing a leg and mostly destroying the other.

    The man comes home and after many months of pt, the docs give him a green light to go home. The man is not about to let this get him down and waste the many years he may still have left. So he comes up with ways to use his wheel chair to exercise and keep disease and infection away.

    Each year he goes to the doctor for exam, and each time, the doctor tells him he wishes all his patients were as healthy as he is.

    IMO, this man has adapted to his limitations and has advanced himself beyond those that take life for granted. You may say that he has over come his limitations, but you would be wrong. He will always have to rely on the wheel chair. If the chair breaks, he may be left stranded. So he has adapted, not overcome. It is not his choice, but IMO, and the doctor's, he is healthy and fit..........

  18. #18
    FarmerDan
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
    Can the fat person diet? Is it the fat person's choice to be fat, or is it a genetic issue that can not be undone?

    There's a difference when you have a choice.

    A man gets drafted into a war he did not start. You know what war is over there, dont you? (that's sarcasm) The man does his best to fight the enemy and stay alive to go home someday. But,......he ends up loosing a leg and mostly destroying the other.

    The man comes home and after many months of pt, the docs give him a green light to go home. The man is not about to let this get him down and waste the many years he may still have left. So he comes up with ways to use his wheel chair to exercise and keep disease and infection away.

    Each year he goes to the doctor for exam, and each time, the doctor tells him he wishes all his patients were as healthy as he is.

    IMO, this man has adapted to his limitations and has advanced himself beyond those that take life for granted. You may say that he has over come his limitations, but you would be wrong. He will always have to rely on the wheel chair. If the chair breaks, he may be left stranded. So he has adapted, not overcome. It is not his choice, but IMO, and the doctor's, he is healthy and fit..........


    I'm lost. How come we're comparing soil with American war heroes?

    PS Sadly we do know what war is in Britain. Please stop starting them. It's annoying when we have to come and help. And try to realise you can't have a war on an idea (drugs, terrorism, communism) and only on an actual identifiable enemy. Then you might start winning some of them... that's sarcasm too.

  19. #19
    doorknob
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerDan View Post


    PS Sadly we do know what war is in Britain. Please stop starting them. It's annoying when we have to come and help. And try to realise you can't have a war on an idea (drugs, terrorism, communism) and only on an actual identifiable enemy. Then you might start winning some of them... that's sarcasm too.
    Ya, I have read some and watched a lot of footage of what your mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers had gone through. Yeesh. I can tell you I have a lot of respect for those. (that's not sarcasm, it's real)

  20. #20
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
    My definition of healthy soil is one that has adapted to the removal and disruption of its natural flora and been put into monoculture crop production.
    Do you want to have another go? :lolk:

    So you define a soil healthy depending on what is grown on/in it rather than looking at the medium itself?

  21. #21
    peterraugland
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    war on ploughing!

  22. #22
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterraugland View Post
    war on ploughing!
    Not really. There's no doubt that some people still plough and have a healthy soil. But they have the OM there still to drive that health either from rotational fertility or possibly from years of previous fertility deposited there eg silts and high om soils.

  23. #23
    fred
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    I would love to say yes , but,

    The thing that returns more to the bottom line is the price we receive ,or better marketing , perhaps I should say, an increase of£20 per tonne will give more to your bottom line , if your soils are in decent condition,

    To take soils from decent condition to superb condition costs time and money ,and if you rent or share farm , you have little incentive to build soil condition,

    It's a fact

  24. #24
    Normandyfarmer
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    @ Doorknob : I didn't expect to laugh when I read the title of this topic ! That is not a healty soil, it's just a destroyed soil that you accept to be (almost) dead. You can grow a 200bu corn with 8" of root and compacted soil structure, that does not make it a healthy soil because you need to put a lot of fertilizer and water to grow it.

    A healthy soil is a soil that is increasing in OM, soil life (quantity AND quality), in fact that is functioning close to a natural soil. If your OM and soil biology is not increasing, then you're not pushing hard enough

    @ Fred and others : a healthy soil able to reduce chemical and fertiliser usage and that is seen among no-till pioneers. It reduce your cost of production, so your start making money before the others.
    Healthy soil = healthy crop = good bottom line.

    When taking care of the soil is costing money ?

  25. #25
    peasantman
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    As my old dad said, his generation was brought up to think that unless you were working hard (physically) you would not get much return. Ploughing and power harrowing fitted into this philosophy very well. You could see where you had been and it all looked neat and tidy. Problem was, all this expensive cultivation, fuel time and effort destroyed (either by ripping it apart or by fast oxidation) the humus that acts like a sponge on the nutrients in the soil and which gives it a resilient structure.

    So I don't see that improving your soil structure is expensive. In fact, for us the opposite is true. We do less and spend less improving our soil structure, then we ever did destroying it.

    The less we do to our soil the better it is.

    In what way are people doing or spending more to improve their soil structures, over and above what they did before?????

  26. #26
    doorknob
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Do you want to have another go? :lolk:

    So you define a soil healthy depending on what is grown on/in it rather than looking at the medium itself?
    No. Rather than skim my replies and think you know what I'm saying, read them.

    The removal and disruption refers to the natural state. You know, back before farming.

    You are convinced that my soils are dying at an alarming rate and that my methods are accelerating the death. Yet, you offer nothing to help me stop your perception of the death. Perhaps I was too quick to judge dockers old chap. He may have been right, there is nothing here but the stalemate of ridicule.?

    Please show your higher level and tell me what I need to do under my limitations to stop the death. I fully expect the usual reply of something like...."well you just have to open your mind and see what is in front of you".....or the like. Ya, lotta good that does. I've been finding that the no-till/dd crowd is quite generous with finger pointing, but quite short with sharing the knowledge. Perhaps someday farmers will completely divide and go to war with each other. Sort of the Hatfields and McCoys. You can sit in church on the dd side or the conventional side.

  27. #27
    fred
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    @ Fred and others : a healthy soil able to reduce chemical and fertiliser usage and that is seen among no-till pioneers. It reduce your cost of production, so your start making money before the others.
    Healthy soil = healthy crop = good bottom line.

    When taking care of the soil is costing money ?[/QUOTE]


    I have heard this now for quite a while , and to be honest I don't believe it .

    "Show me the money,"

    will someone who low disturbance drills , actually say that after so many years they use less variable cost and have higher yields

    And prove it ,

  28. #28
    FarmerDan
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by fred View Post
    I have heard this now for quite a while , and to be honest I don't believe it .

    "Show me the money,"

    will someone who low disturbance drills , actually say that after so many years they use less variable cost and have higher yields

    And prove it ,
    You may be right, you may never see any financial benefit in your lifetime.

    Personally I think I have a duty to try to improve my soils for future generations, and at the very least leave them in a state no worse than I found them. Might even lose me a tiny bit of money compared to going for maximum short-term profitability, but I'm prepared to take that risk for the sake of my conscience. This is why short term FBTs are evil. No incentive for longterm thinking...

  29. #29
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
    No. Rather than skim my replies and think you know what I'm saying, read them.

    The removal and disruption refers to the natural state. You know, back before farming.

    You are convinced that my soils are dying at an alarming rate and that my methods are accelerating the death. Yet, you offer nothing to help me stop your perception of the death. Perhaps I was too quick to judge dockers old chap. He may have been right, there is nothing here but the stalemate of ridicule.?

    Please show your higher level and tell me what I need to do under my limitations to stop the death. I fully expect the usual reply of something like...."well you just have to open your mind and see what is in front of you".....or the like. Ya, lotta good that does. I've been finding that the no-till/dd crowd is quite generous with finger pointing, but quite short with sharing the knowledge. Perhaps someday farmers will completely divide and go to war with each other. Sort of the Hatfields and McCoys. You can sit in church on the dd side or the conventional side.
    I think you need to see a Psychiatrist, and possibly get a crane to move that massive chip off your shoulder as well.

    But tell me what you can grow before you tell me what you can't grow. The question I asked didn't have an answer saying that direct drilling is the only way it was asking about to what degree a healthy soil helps make everything else slot into place easier or not.

  30. #30
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: True or False?

    Quote Originally Posted by fred View Post
    @ Fred and others : a healthy soil able to reduce chemical and fertiliser usage and that is seen among no-till pioneers. It reduce your cost of production, so your start making money before the others.
    Healthy soil = healthy crop = good bottom line.

    When taking care of the soil is costing money ?

    I have heard this now for quite a while , and to be honest I don't believe it .

    "Show me the money,"

    will someone who low disturbance drills , actually say that after so many years they use less variable cost and have higher yields

    And prove it ,[/QUOTE]

    Well I think I use less P and K - I genuinely think biological activity helps P availibilty that I can't get in tillage. I think my ph is tends to become slower in getting back to a more acidic state than it used to be - one field seven years no till ph 6.4 and not limed for 7 years.

    There was some money from farming connect in Wales this year to soil test the whole farm - I tested a load of permanent pasture and some woodland as well - it was bringing back ph's of 6.3's and P and K's of 3's. So something is going on here that may be greater than the sum of its parts I think.

    No wheats that have been direct drilled had autumn herbicide and there are hardly any weeds now - I think by year 3 of low disturbance you can start to get the benefits of less weeds of cultivation. But not before and you have to get strict about it.

    Not saved on N yet, drill costs not much to run per acre and naturally fuel use is lower.

    I've a fair way to go but I think I can get down to one (cheap) herbicide per crop pretty quickly and some roundup. Not willing to cut on fungicides yet or N but will start experimenting soon.

    Yields are generally the same. When its good its way better and when its not good it can be rubbish too.

    I can see more potential but I'm also in the lucky position of having visited a few people around UK and the world doing this and so I'm maybe more excited by the potential than others

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