The soil bears witness.

 In preparing for an agricultural exhibition with the theme Soil Fertility I had the idea to discuss longterm development with the background of soil fertility experiments. We have a series now more than 50 years old.

Could something be shown about soil structure stability? So – I started to sieve out some defined fractions to test.

But – when looking at them – there were differences in colour! The treatment with ley and manure was darker than that with arable cropping and no fertilizer. These are the extreme treatments, a difference in soil carbon is measured but I did not expect to see it directly so clearly.

 There are more treatments. How about ”arable no fertilizer” compared to ”arable full fertilizer”? The straw is returned in both cases. And to my great satisfaction there was a difference. The soil with full fertilizer and high yields was clearly darker, almost comparable to the ley treatment. More straw, more roots make a better soil.

 Analyses and soil models do a good job, but admittedly it is very satisfactory to have a visual confirmation.

 And it is good to get a confirmation that the arable system is manageable provided there is enough of residues returned. Or, as a probably good alternative, cover crops provide organic matter.

 A summarizing book worked on: see blogroll down right.

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