Farm06 Vol 4 Iss 3

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23 farm406 A cover crop is beer for the soil than no vegetation that occurs aer fallowing. When roots remain active, the soil is alive. Tilling has additional consequences. Since life in soil is disturbed during tilling, organisms are no longer able to function. Plant diversity is important. Included in a cover crop can be radishes and turnips that break up compacted soil and allow moisture to seep into the ground along their deep roots; legumes, such as field peas and lentils, alfalfa, and clover enhance nitrogen levels; and grains, such as oats and triticale that are tall can be tromped into the ground. When the soil isn't disturbed by tilling, it contains open spaces where moisture collects. As early as aer the first two years, Dusenberry wanted to know if the soil had improved. He took a shovel and turned up the soil where a cover crop had been planted. e soil was alive with worms, beetles, and hair-like roots. On the ground's surface, cover crops naturally discouraged weeds by allowing lile room for them to grow. He found that he could greatly reduce fertilizer and herbicide use, which had been an expense tipping the business records toward the negative. Instead of using a soil test that reports only the pH level and pinpoints nutrient deficiencies, Dusenberry is leaning toward using the Haney Test. is Soil Health Test is an integrated approach to soil testing using biological as well as chemical test data. Designed to mimic nature's approach to soil nutrient availability in a lab seing, it indicates the activity of the soil or how alive it is. e Haney Test can evaluate any soil under any management scenario because the program asks Cattle had been moved to this lush pasture a few hours before this photo was taken. The young pigs live and root in a cover crop that has lots of alfalfa. Tim Dusenberry sells cuts of beef and pork at Farmer's Markets from this refrigerated truck.

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