Recently I came across a Tweet from cover crop educator Steve Groff, who collected a sample of “snirt” — windblown snow and dirt — from field near his farm in Pennsylvania that was being tilled.
He sent it in for testing, got the results back and they were telling: the snirt tested at 204 parts per million (ppm) phosphorus and 324 ppm potassium, both rating very high. The material also had high levels of copper and zinc. “As I suspected, it’s the best soil that blows away. Cover crops and no-till would eliminate this,” Groff wrote.
It’s already hard enough to succeed in farming without having to hold back the voices of all the environmental critics. Let’s face it — fair or not, agriculture is an easy target. And sadly, many growers who are taking great pains to handle their nutrient program responsibly get far less press than those who create and invite criticism.
Those who manage nutrients to reduce or eliminate waste and keep soils and waterways healthy deserve recognition: not only to counter the negativity toward farmers, but share best practices that other growers might consider adopting so they can strive to be both successful and responsible.
If you know of a no-tiller or strip-tiller who does a great job managing their crop nutrient program responsibly and effectively, please nominate them by clicking here.
Please help the unsung stalwarts among us who work to keep nutrients in their fields where they belong by making sure they’re recognized.