Get a Gauge on Soil Health By Doing Some Digging in the Fence Row

Want to do a health check up on your topsoil, but not a soil expert? Easy! Get digging in the fence row or nearby woodlot for a good gauge on how different the fields are from what they were before being farmed.

What is Left in the Soil After the 2009 SeasonAnne Verhallen, soil management specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, presented recently at the Southwest Agriculture Conference with some great visuals on just how changed soil can be in a relatively short amount of time, and not usually for the better.

All is not lost, of course. As Verhallen explains in the video below, there are not only relatively easy ways to measure and compare relative soil health, but the steps necessary to begin to prop up that tired soil are also rather straight forward. She also tallies up the cost of NOT improving soil — and it doesn’t take long for a cover crop to pay for itself.

(At the very beginning of this interview we also give a nod to it being International Year of Soils — watch for much more on the topic throughout 2015!)

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