[Market-farming] Tillage; clay-humus; bio-char

Tradingpost tradingpost at lobo.net
Thu Feb 8 09:23:19 EST 2007

Very interesting. Looking at rotary Imants spaders
http://www.autrusa.com/imants.html which model would fit the Foulks data?
How much inversion and pulverizing takes place? Also what time frame
applied to the Foulks data, one year or several? What other factors may
have affected the humus test such as cover crops? I'd like to know more.

paul tradingpost at lobo.net

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 2/8/2007 at 12:13 AM Steve Diver wrote:

>I'm copying excerpts below from a Sanet post I shared
>in May 1999.
>It shows that the "type" of tillage can influence the soil's
>ability to turn freshly incorporated cover crop biomass
>into stable humus.
>The "humus value" test described below is distinctly different
>from percent OM on a soil test.  It is an indication of the
>degree that OM has been humified.  The higher the number
>the greater the level of complexed OM and built-up soil humus.
>You can do an on-farm humus value test with a kit, and
>several commercial soil labs offer the humus value test for
>its insight to the soil humic condition.
>My paper on Luebke compost and humus management
>provides further details on their soil testing methods and
>how clay-amended compost can dramatically increase
>organo-mineral complexes that are part of the SOM to
>clay-humus spectrum.  
>Controlled Microbial Composting and Humus Management
>The other on-farm technology that is a dynamic method for
>building organo-mineral complexes are various kinds of
>charcoals and bio-chars, as described in literature
>relating to terra preta / Amazonian black earth.
>Steve Diver
>Re: Imants spade plow->Humus Management
>Thu, 4 Mar 1999 11:41:43 +0000
>Soil management tidbits, a spader story:
>Fyi, at the 1995 Acres USA conference there was an interesting
>presentation by M.R. Foulks, who is the largest organic soybean
>grower in Virginia. He discussed his organic production system, and
>presented data on soil health improvements through the adaption of
>innovative soil management practices. The Foulks had attended
>some of the controlled microbial composting and humus management
>practices taught in seminars in Pennsylvania by the Siegfried Luebke
>family of Austria, hosted by George Liedig of Autrusa Compost.
>The CMC Compost-Humus Mgm't System emphasizes specialized
>compost turners, microbial inoculation, clay additions, frequent
>turning, daily monitoring for temperature and CO2, compost fleece to
>cover and protect the windrow, and qualitative testing for finished
>compost. Promotion of clay-humus crumb formation and a
>microbially-rich compost is a primary goal. Coupled with CMC
>compost, emphasis is placed at the farm level on a whole series of
>well-known organic agricultural practices that promote soil
>health, soil humus, soil biology, soil tilth, soil fertility etc.
>These include crop rotations, cover crops, green manures,
>microbially-inoculated composts, sod rotations mixed with crop
>rotations, grazing, urine, etc. "Humus management" encompasses
>these soil-enhancing organic farming practices along with the deep
>humus knowledge from the organic pioneeers: Efrenfried
>Pfeiffer, Sir Albert Howard, Lady Eve Balfour, as well as the
>microbial-humus scientists like Selman Waksman of Rutgers University
>and the Russian scientiests Kononova and Krasilnikov, among others.
>This is where the spader comes into the picture. In addition
>to the cover cropping and compost applications, choice of tillage
>implement can make a big difference in soil tilth and humus content.
>The Luebkes found that spading implements are superior as a humus
>management tool in vegetable production, especially in comaparison to
>tillers etc. At the Acres conference, M.R. Foulks presented the
>following data on humus values based on early adoption of
>large-sized spading implements for agronomic crop production in
>the U.S. The humus value is the sodium hydroxide colorimetric humus
>value test.
>[Humus Value numbers in Column 2 and 3]
>Soil Depth...Chisel-Plow/Disc.....Spader
>The data shows that tillage implement alone can affect
>soil conditions that favor microbial populations and their
>ability to humify soil organic matter from crop residues,
>cover crops, and composts.
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