Posted to Naturally Speaking with Steve Lekwa by Erica Place
I noticed something I hadn’t seen in awhile the other day while driving in northern Iowa. Most of an earlier snowfall had melted, but drifts left in road ditches had an odd look. The snow was no longer white, but was gray and in some places almost black. It was “snirt”, a combination of snow and dirt. The effect was most pronounced in ditches next to fields where fall tillage had been done; exposing dry, loose soil to the wind. It would have been much worse if various forms of “conservation tillage” had not been adopted. Conservation tillage allows at least some of the crop residue to remain on the surface where it can partially protect the fragile soil. When I was a boy, it was a mark of pride to bury every trace of crop stubble with moldboard plows that were the primary fall tillage tools of the day. Fall cover crops are an even newer means of protecting soil during the vulnerable winter months, and it’s encouraging to see more fields being planted with them each year.
Posted to The Greenprint by Erica Place