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Published on Sep 28, 2015
Want access to water, nutrients? Look deeper, expert tells farmers The scientist who wrote the book on soils wants farmers to look deeper. Literally. Dr. Ray Weil, author of the 15th edition of The Nature and Property of Soils, wants farmers to consider the soil’s nutrient and water-holding capacity below the top 8-10 inches of soil. Unfortunately, decades of heavy machine traffic on the soil’s surface, combined with tillage, have created nearly impenetrable layers of dense soil called “plow-pans,” which make it difficult (if not impossible) for most crops to reach what Weil describes as a tank of moisture and nutrients below the topsoil. To access those nutrients and moisture, farmers should consider using cover crops to tap into that reservoir with plow-pan-busting roots, he says. Go underground with Dr. Weil in this Science of Soil Health video to learn more (3:48). It’s science you can really dig.