Creating Soil

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Thomas Cunningham

We bought a 160 acre farm with 110 acres of dirt that had made sterile with an antibiotic called glysophate (Roundup) sprayed on it at least once  a year.  How does one take dirt and create soil? Fortunately, nature is extremely generous.  With tender love and care, there is almost nothing nature will not generate for you.

There are three major components.

  1. The first is that we open up the soil with a Keyline Yeoghman’s Plow. Our ground had been so compacted with so many years of crop planting that deep roots couldn’t really penetrate it. This is a phenomena called dead panning. Dead panning is that rock hard ground right below the farmers plow as the ground was tilled for 50 years. That dead pan holds water. Roots cannot penetrate water which prohibits them from growing past the dead pan. Our Keyline Plow cuts through the dead pan so that roots will grow.
  2. We restore biological life to the soil with organic nutrients. We take compost and soak it in 2 foot long tea bags. We soak those tea bags in large containers of water with a bubler and we spread it across the fields.
  3. We use Managed Intensive Grazing on our property. We give our cow/sheep combos about an acre at a time to graze on. That’s somewhere between a full day and a half a day usually. That intensive grazing simulates how grass used to be grazed when large herds of buffalo would pass through the area. It’s been found that this type of grazing increases soil health and causes the grasses to come back quicker and stronger.

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