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Published on Apr 21, 2015
2015 is the International Year of Soils. During the year, Cooperative Extension has focused on soil health workshops. In March 2015, Extension invited Steve Woodruff, NRCS agronomist to talk to growers, Extension professionals and staff from the Sussex County Conservation District and focused on the benefits and challenges of improving soil health. Part of the training included this demonstration of a rain simulator on different types of agricultural soil. From left to right: 1. Low-diversity, heavily tilled soil, 2. No-till soil with 25 years of diverse cover crop, representing about 4 to 4.5% organic matter, 3. Residual cover of tilled soil, 4. Well-managed pasture with a diversity of crops and 5. Poorly-managed pasture that has been over-grazed. Woodruff says the simulator indicates"not so much a runoff or erosion problem as an infiltration problem." Inability of water to infiltrate the soil so it can be used by the crop.