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Re: soil erosion/no till (long)


I would add a hardy "amen" to Steve Verhey's comments and thoughts 
regarding his meeting Carlos Crovetto and the resulting article that 
he wrote. 
If the machinery technology that exists today had been around 150 years 
ago, John Deere would have had no reason to invent the self scouring 
steel moleboard plow. Soil left undisturbed will
allow earthworms to proliferate and in conjunction with decaying roots 
from previous crops, better water infiltration will occur. With an 
average soil loss of 9 tons per acre, I find it hard
to promote an activity that adds to this loss of an irreplaceable 
resource. The Lancaster County Conservation District (PA) did a survey 
last fall asking people to indicate what were "local
natural resource concerns". The top two were: Water Quality and Soil 
Erosion. The "No-tillage" method of planting would go a long way in 
solving these apparent problems.

One of the reasons why fertile areas such as Lancaster County, and many 
other places in the US like the Palouse, have not jumped into this is 
because they can "afford" some soil erosion, organic matter depletion, 
and heavy pesticide use as a price to pay for top yields. Other 
countries and places in the US with
poorer quality soil and very little topsoil CANNOT "afford" these losses
or they go hungry! Folks like Carlos Crovetto (Chile), Frank Dijksta 
(Brazil), and others from around the world as well as right here in 
Lancaster County 
have proven that long term no-tillage works. With the
use of cover crops and crop rotation, commercial fertilizer and
pesticides can be SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED by using no-tillage . This has 
great appeal where
cash for imputs is scarce and for those of us who want to make a decent
living while working with nature as it does its part in helping to
produce a healthy food product. It's time we as sustainable advocates 
stop turning our backs to soil erosion!

Check out our new website! http://www2.epix.net/~cmfarm/
Steve Groff
Cedar Meadow Farm
679 Hilldale Rd
Holtwood PA 17532
Ph. 717-284-5152