Tillage 'Earthquakes' and What Farmers Can Learn From a Forest

Mike Dorion calls himself ‘the compost kid’ and he believes farmers should think about their fields like he does his garden.

The founder of Calgary-based Living Soil Solutions doesn’t suggest cash crop farmers use tea leaves to improve soil health, but he does preach the benefits of reducing tillage, banking organic matter to help increase soil microbes, building fungal communities, increasing soil aggregate stability, and creating diversity with cover crops.

He’s also a big fan of forests and suggests farmers can learn a lot from observing what happens in a forest ecosystem. Dorion recently shared his philosophy with farmers attending the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s annual meeting. In this interview with RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin, Dorion talks forests; questions why farmers need to create disruptive tillage “earthquakes” in their fields; and suggests it’s time to stop talking about dirt.

“Dirt is dead,” says Dorion. “I would rather have healthy soil filled with microorganisms that are alive.”

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