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Thread: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

  1. #31
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampeman View Post
    Yes meant every word. Go and take a soil sample out of a woodland area, then walk out into an adjacent field and take a sample. The difference is incredible with the wooded area being much better structure wise, quality wise etc.

    It will takes many many years to put the soil in the field back to how it is in the wood. I used '100' years flippantly just meaning you can't do it quickly and during the time it will take I would of thought you will need to turn a profit, so you have to make the change with a business head on, not a soil lovers head.
    but the big difference in the wood is that no-one comes along and destroys it every 12 months - maybe if left to let nature get on with it things change ??

    soils have definitely changed around here in the last 50 years I would say there are farms that have all but destroyed their soil now, (both physically, chemically and nutritionally) I would agree 50 years of abuse will take much more than 50 years of repair though

    I was watching a contractor apply soil fumigant to long term veg ground locally a while ago - basically complete sterlisation of the soil just so they can still grow veg on it, along with the vast amounts of water they have to throw at it to sustain a crop every year, nature didn't get them in that situation it was all self inflicted 1960-2012

  2. #32
    Bog Man
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampeman View Post
    I

    I. You can't change the soil structure in 100 yrs let alone 20 yrs so all we can do is feed the growing crop as best as we can.

    E.
    You will add very little to soil OM but a lot to soil structure in a few years . I have been chopping straw for 10 years and min tilling for eight years my organic matter is usually above 5% and will increase very little in another 10 , but my soil structure has improved . We operate in a very heavy rainfall area and we have less ponding since we started min till as water does not move down the field but is trapped by bits of straw and debris and percolates into the ground .
    I have cut drainage channells across some field to direct runoff and stop it going into lower historically wetter areas that would tend to pond . The drill man calls these channels" tank traps" after hitting one in the dark doing 15Km. Some fields I am considering changing the direction of tilling to control surface water movement .
    You have to look at how your ponds are forming as it is often too late to do anything about it once the water has entered these areas . Are your field operations directing water into these areas and can you change the direction of these operations to minimise this movement . It is very easy in the harvest frenzy with dust flying in all directions to till a field in such a way as to cause problems when the rain comes .
    Soil OM is only one of many bullets we have .

  3. #33
    Kentish_Andy
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampeman View Post
    Yes meant every word. Go and take a soil sample out of a woodland area, then walk out into an adjacent field and take a sample. The difference is incredible with the wooded area being much better structure wise, quality wise etc.

    It will takes many many years to put the soil in the field back to how it is in the wood. I used '100' years flippantly just meaning you can't do it quickly and during the time it will take I would of thought you will need to turn a profit, so you have to make the change with a business head on, not a soil lovers head.
    I have managed to change and improve structure in 2 years on some land we took on. I did that with my business head on because the soil was becoming unfarmable. I do njot want by soil like the wood as I am not growing trees. Which is what the biology of woodland soil is set up todo.

  4. #34
    JD_Kid
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    the bit i don't buy in to in animals in cropping are needed same as baleing straw off it's removed

    people them spout on about how they then cart compost and FYM saveing the world ummm they have used fuel both ways and brought back less

    annual root mass is larger than long term , rapes pushing down deeper than most grasses only deeper things chicory and alfalfa

  5. #35
    York
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampeman View Post
    In 2012 soil structure has nothing to do with ponding. It's the volume of water that's fallen from the sky which has lifted the water table causing ponding. I don't care how good you think your soils are, if the water table rises it will flood, simple as that no matter what crop establishment system you use.

    I think what Tom is hinting at is that there is no one solution and you need to do what's required to grow a crop, which at the moment is worth close to 250/t (g1 wheat). We are all growing the same yields as we were 20 yrs ago using the same systems whether that be ploughing, min till or direct drilling. You can't change the soil structure in 100 yrs let alone 20 yrs so all we can do is feed the growing crop as best as we can.

    Establishment systems offer savings in establishment and nothing else. Yes using a power harrow does not help soil structure but it still returns average yields year on year, same as min till and dd.
    Ponding:
    this happens, don't get me wrong, when mor ewater is "applied" to a spot and can't get away. Either by run off or infiltration. By definition a good healthy soil is able to "suck up water by 100 mm/hour.
    so if this is not possible, or the "translocation" of the water down into the ground water is "disturbed" we have to ask: what is causing the disturbance, or?
    Looking at the various soil results I have seen from our beloved iland I almost can predict which fields have a problem & which fields don't have it. And one big think is the Ca : Mg ratio!
    soil structure & 100 years:
    didn't take many years to make good land almost unyielding. See down to Spain, Turkey, Greece and even here in Germany. They are still yielding, but look at the inputs now needed.
    I can show you fields which lost all structure in less than 10 years. Just a little 2wrong" fertiliser programm will do that. Has resulted in halving maize yields. Farmers now blame the "climate change" ;-)
    Power harrow:
    oh well.....
    In Russia there is this saying: "Mr Lemken did more harm to Russia & it's soils than the germans in WWII".
    High OM & Ponding:
    several of BFF writers know the river bottom land I refer no to. It has 6+% OM and it's one of the worst water lodged places I know of. Besides a "natural" often too high ground water table it drains like s...t.
    York-Th.
    I'm rely looking forward to see

  6. #36
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampeman View Post
    You can't change the soil structure in 100 yrs let alone 20 yrs so all we can do is feed the growing crop as best as we can.
    If you truly believed that (and I think your saying it to wind us up) then why are you bothering to put on compost?

  7. #37
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bog Man View Post
    You will add very little to soil OM but a lot to soil structure in a few years . I have been chopping straw for 10 years and min tilling for eight years my organic matter is usually above 5% and will increase very little in another 10 , but my soil structure has improved . We operate in a very heavy rainfall area and we have less ponding since we started min till as water does not move down the field but is trapped by bits of straw and debris and percolates into the ground .
    I have cut drainage channells across some field to direct runoff and stop it going into lower historically wetter areas that would tend to pond . The drill man calls these channels" tank traps" after hitting one in the dark doing 15Km. Some fields I am considering changing the direction of tilling to control surface water movement .
    You have to look at how your ponds are forming as it is often too late to do anything about it once the water has entered these areas . Are your field operations directing water into these areas and can you change the direction of these operations to minimise this movement . It is very easy in the harvest frenzy with dust flying in all directions to till a field in such a way as to cause problems when the rain comes .
    Soil OM is only one of many bullets we have .
    Any pictures of these drain channels? I'm intruiged.

    Also I think it can be faster to get from 1% OM to 2%OM but would expect it to slow as it goes up.

  8. #38
    Kentish_Andy
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    If you truly believed that (and I think your saying it to wind us up) then why are you bothering to put on compost?
    Been thinking the same thing on both counts.

  9. #39
    Jack Russell
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by York View Post
    Ponding:
    this happens, don't get me wrong, when mor ewater is "applied" to a spot and can't get away. Either by run off or infiltration. By definition a good healthy soil is able to "suck up water by 100 mm/hour.
    so if this is not possible, or the "translocation" of the water down into the ground water is "disturbed" we have to ask: what is causing the disturbance, or?
    Looking at the various soil results I have seen from our beloved iland I almost can predict which fields have a problem & which fields don't have it. And one big think is the Ca : Mg ratio!
    soil structure & 100 years:
    didn't take many years to make good land almost unyielding. See down to Spain, Turkey, Greece and even here in Germany. They are still yielding, but look at the inputs now needed.
    I can show you fields which lost all structure in less than 10 years. Just a little 2wrong" fertiliser programm will do that. Has resulted in halving maize yields. Farmers now blame the "climate change" ;-)
    Power harrow:
    oh well.....
    In Russia there is this saying: "Mr Lemken did more harm to Russia & it's soils than the germans in WWII".
    High OM & Ponding:
    several of BFF writers know the river bottom land I refer no to. It has 6+% OM and it's one of the worst water lodged places I know of. Besides a "natural" often too high ground water table it drains like s...t.
    York-Th.
    I'm rely looking forward to see
    That is pure class (class not Claas). Made me smile

  10. #40
    Tomsewell
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    No one has mentioned worms yet! High earthworm numbers will transform the health of your soil, drainage and incorporation of residues.
    As Kentish Andy stated on Monday at his excellent cover crops day, "use deep rooting legumes or cover crops to subsoil" rather than destroy the structure that is beginning to establish itself by pulling a tine through!
    Our best draining land for the past few years has been where we have not cultivated. And that is across all our soil types.

  11. #41
    York
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomsewell View Post
    No one has mentioned worms yet! High earthworm numbers will transform the health of your soil, drainage and incorporation of residues.
    As Kentish Andy stated on Monday at his excellent cover crops day, "use deep rooting legumes or cover crops to subsoil" rather than destroy the structure that is beginning to establish itself by pulling a tine through!
    Our best draining land for the past few years has been where we have not cultivated. And that is across all our soil types.
    Tomeswell,
    you are absolutely right. But too often people forget that to have them they require also to have certain needs to be met. In a water lodged field they don't like to live.
    We have observed time over time again that even when they are fed with abundance of straw they don't increase in numbers like they could. In this case it was a lack of S. for "meat" you need S as the major Amminoacids are a N-S structure.
    It all starts at pure chemistry & than the biology.
    York-Th.

  12. #42
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayo View Post
    I am not sure you guys are right to make humus the panacea you claim it is.

    If that was true, those on peat soils would never have any problems, given they can routinely have more than 20 prevent om.

    Only they don't. Humic acids lockup various nutrients and cause terrible problems. This is well documented.
    I'm not sure anyone is saying that you can't have too much. If you read Neil Kinsey's book you'll see he says the ideal is 5%.

  13. #43
    yellow belly
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampeman View Post
    In 2012 soil structure has nothing to do with ponding. It's the volume of water that's fallen from the sky which has lifted the water table causing ponding. I don't care how good you think your soils are, if the water table rises it will flood, simple as that no matter what crop establishment system you use.

    I think what Tom is hinting at is that there is no one solution and you need to do what's required to grow a crop, which at the moment is worth close to 250/t (g1 wheat). We are all growing the same yields as we were 20 yrs ago using the same systems whether that be ploughing, min till or direct drilling. You can't change the soil structure in 100 yrs let alone 20 yrs so all we can do is feed the growing crop as best as we can.

    Establishment systems offer savings in establishment and nothing else. Yes using a power harrow does not help soil structure but it still returns average yields year on year, same as min till and dd.
    not sure to take you literally on this one

    lee plant a field with grass and graze it plough 1/4 of it up in 5 years another in 10 year then 15 year and the last 1/4 in 20 years
    i can assure you what ever soil type you will have improved the soil the longer the grass

    the trouble is it take a lot of years and most uk soils have been farmed on and off for hundreds of years

  14. #44
    Joe Boy
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    If you took lee's farm that he is going to put down to grass for 100 yrs to improve his soil, then in 100 years time sprayed the grass off so the rain directly hit the bare soil, it would probably runoff and pond like it would today. No matter how many earth worms and how much OM would have built up it would not withstand the direct hammering all this rainfall gives the soil. As pointed out to me this morning, once the top of the soil runs together infiltration is massively impaired regardless of whats going on below.

    So what we need is to always have a crop growing and to use establishment that retains the crop residue on the surface.

  15. #45
    Joe Boy
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    [QUOTE=Krampeman;1057807]In 2012 soil structure has nothing to do with ponding. It's the volume of water that's fallen from the sky which has lifted the water table causing ponding. I don't care how good you think your soils are, if the water table rises it will flood, simple as that no matter what crop establishment system you use.

    I think what Tom is hinting at is that there is no one solution and you need to do what's required to grow a crop, which at the moment is worth close to 250/t (g1 wheat). We are all growing the same yields as we were 20 yrs ago using the same systems whether that be ploughing, min till or direct drilling. You can't change the soil structure in 100 yrs let alone 20 yrs so all we can do is feed the growing crop as best as we can.

    Establishment systems offer savings in establishment and nothing else. Yes using a power harrow does not help soil structure but it still returns average yields year on year, same as min till and dd.[/QUOTE]


    Either - Establishment systems offer savings in establishment and nothing else. Or using a power harrow does not help soil structure. Can both statements be true




  16. #46
    Joe Boy
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Also, if the water has fallen from the sky and is now sitting on the top of the field it has not raised the water table. The water table is probably several meters below, the trouble is the water is not getting through the soil surface in the first place.

  17. #47
    Mayo
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    I'm not sure anyone is saying that you can't have too much. If you read Neil Kinsey's book you'll see he says the ideal is 5%.
    Hmmm, didn't get the gist of the thread perhaps and wondered off in my own mind...

    Are we certain that an increase of such a small percentage will help anyone all that much?

    Dirt is dirt and will always be more mineral than anything else.

  18. #48
    FarmerDan
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayo View Post
    Hmmm, didn't get the gist of the thread perhaps and wondered off in my own mind...

    Are we certain that an increase of such a small percentage will help anyone all that much?

    Dirt is dirt and will always be more mineral than anything else.
    You are having a laugh.

    http://permaculteur.free.fr/ecoanarc...ilizations.pdf

    Just read it.

  19. #49
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayo View Post
    Hmmm, didn't get the gist of the thread perhaps and wondered off in my own mind...

    Are we certain that an increase of such a small percentage will help anyone all that much?

    Dirt is dirt and will always be more mineral than anything else.
    As I understand it, a 1% increase in SOM will hold an extra 0.66" of rain. That sounds pretty good to me!

  20. #50
    Bog Man
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Any pictures of these drain channels? I'm intruiged.

    Also I think it can be faster to get from 1% OM to 2%OM but would expect it to slow as it goes up.
    They are incredibly hard to photograph as some of them are very subtle especially after a few years min till .

  21. #51
    james lloyd
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Any pictures of these drain channels? I'm intruiged.

    Also I think it can be faster to get from 1% OM to 2%OM but would expect it to slow as it goes up.
    Below link of machine used widely over here to help with surface drainage. The channels are put in every year

    http://www.agram.fr/Materiel-Agricol...p#.UM8A9-TBGuI

  22. #52
    Col
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Just had some interesting results back from Glenside. Some of the heaviest hardest to work ground has the lowest OM (2.4%) but the lightest ground has the highest OM (5.9%). The light ground is very black and sticky next to a small loch so may have been below the loch at one point and peat based soil. The light stuff is also (according to the tests)the best soil on the place, although it isn't. In this case spring and/or summer moisture is the limiting factor, along with (I suspect) the higher OM tying up trace elements. You can't have everything it seems.

  23. #53
    Mayo
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    Providing surface drainage that encourages water to run off fields rapidly as opposed to infiltrate naturally is surely not ideal as in the eyes of the powers that be, you are providing a ready made bypass for phosphate pollution?

    Whilst I agree that adding soil organic matter over time is good, maintaining it will be an uphill battle since cultivations surely allow it to oxidise each time they are carried out?

    I am intrigued by all of the DD/mint till efforts this year given the circumstances, admittedly everything I have seen has been plough/combi drilled, perhaps in the spring we can have a photo thread so we can judge what worked ok.

    I agree grass leys improve soil structure massively, and didn't the difference in soil structure this year make themselves apparent this year in the maize!

  24. #54
    Bog Man
    Guest

    Re: Soil OM is maybe not the silver bullet?

    If the powers that be organised the weather right I would not have to get rid of 30 inches of rain in six months . Since I have moved to Min till and chopped straw I do not have to clear the side drains as often so I suspect I am doing less harm than when I was ploughing . Direct drilling would improve it more .

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