Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Soil fertility tests!

I'm taking soil samples today, with a soil probe. When pushed into the ground to a depth of 6 inches, it comes out with a 1" round core of soil about 6" long. I knock it into a clean bucket and walk to another spot in a field to take another. I use a Z pattern to cover a field and take 15 or so samples per field. These are mixed together in the bucket and then put in a bag. About 2 cups soil total will go to the testing lab in Omaha, Nebraska. I am sampling some areas where 6 or more inches of silt washed in. It will be interesting to see what the fertility of that silt is or is not. Also wondering how this year's test will compare to last year's on fields that had 26 inches of rain run over them. I will let you know! Planning on taking 20 samples, so better get walking! Rd


Dorothea said...

What's your estimate on how far away the silt is coming from? I've no idea how you would even guess.

Richard said...

dorothea, Most of it came off one end of the field and ended up on the lower end, some came off hillsides and out of ravines, that includes more rocks and sand.BUT there is also the possibility where river water overran some fields that there is pesticides from neighbors fields. Bonnie Widemann, director of our organic certifier, MOSA was out this week and looked at our fields. She says the state is willing to pay, $1,200 per test to test for residues. They will be testing cover crop plants grown in flooded fields yet this fall. We don't expect to find anything, as any chemical would be so diluted by the huge volume of water, but will be reasuring to see the tests, will report results when available. Those cover crops to be tested are not yet planted, so hope and pray the rains stay away! Richard