Friday, January 30, 2009

Thanks for the topsoil!

This is the current view standing at the end of our driveway and looking east into our yard. As you can see by the mighty high snowbanks, my husband has been doing a lot of shoveling this winter.

As you can also see, we're the happy recipients of a new thin layer of topsoil over the end of our yard. Our neighbors to the north and west do full-till row cropping, which means that part of their soil base gets blown away every winter, to be deposited elsewhere. Like in rivers, lakes, and in my yard.

We grow alfalfa on our yard, so our soil is well bedded under a nice layer of decomposing alfalfa stalks and root mass. Topsoil is precious, so we try to hold on to ours as best we can. So I am partly grateful for the free gift of my neighbor's soil. But partly worried, as well. Dirt just shouldn't be blowing around like that.

Some farmers practice no-till and minimum-till on their cropland. I understand that sometimes they have a greater problem with insect damage when they don't till as much. I'm not a farmer, so I don't know all the ins and outs of it.

Here are a few pictures I took of a road ditch on the north side of the road, next to a couple of fields. I took them while driving home from New Ulm last week.

The first picture shows the ditch adjacent to a full-till field.

The second picture shows the ditch adjacent to a no-till field.

Believe it or not, these pictures were taken within 100 feet of one another. It was like night and day, from one field to the next. And we've had good snowcover thus far this winter - image all the dirt blowing around if we hadn't!

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